Has parenting affected your mental health?

(1000 Posts)
NutsinMay Sun 26-May-13 15:13:52

There seems to be a lot of links about Mental Health affecting your ability to parent but nothing about parenting affecting your mental health(beyond post natal depression).

Yet although there have been times in my life when I've felt low, anxious, possibly more than that, I've never felt as anxious, stressed, neurotic, controlling, irritable, occasionally close to the edge as I have had since having children. I have no desire to have a relationship or go out (beyond doing stuff with the children as they are always much easier when out).

I do work part-time and that provides some relief but I wish weekends were something to look forward to like they used to be pre-children. Now they are the most tiring shifts of the week.

Having one was fine and didn't change me or my life that much (and I had a high needs baby) but having two for me is a whole another level.

I am tired very tired. I've not had an uninterupted night's sleep for about 5 years so I think that might be a major contributor but I find the fighting between siblings, the noise, the whining, the whinging- the demands of "mummy" shrieked in stereo are occasionally just too much to bear. I sobbed in front of them this morning because I just wanted them to leave each other alone. I sometimes fear picking up by daughter from school as I just don't the energy to cope with the afterschool grumpiness/meltdown/rudeness.

I know parenting isn't easy and I'm full of admiration for those who have more than two, do it alone or unsupported or have children with complex needs.

I do hear stories of women locking themselves in the bathroom to escape their kids and I know a lot of women got by on valium in the 70s and laudenum in the 1870s(or earlier) so I know it's not uncommon.

But I'm wondering why there isn't more written about this? Is the stress etc actually doing damage to my physical health? Is it normal? Does anyone else think they are going mad?

Thankfully, they are out with DP this afternoon as I've been on the go since 6.

itchyandscratchy26 Sun 26-May-13 15:41:35

Really feel for you, and I think the fact that you've had no replies speaks volumes in itself. What I mean is that many mums put on a front of coping and wouldn't dare admit in public they struggle.Could it be that MN is no different in that respect. A lot of competitive parenting goes on out there and it can make you feel s**t when everyone else looks as if they have it sussed.
A good book about this is 'What Mothers Do'
I don't have the answers for you as I've not had mine yet. My twins are due for delivery this Tuesday, and I'm more petrified (of not coping) than excited.
All the best x

prissyenglisharriviste Sun 26-May-13 15:46:58

There are tons of stats about this, it's well known that mothers of young children have a higher likelihood of mental health issues (partially explained by PND etc but not in entirety).

But, y'know, people don't like to publicize it too much. A bit like mother and baby magazine running an article on SIDS. Or on birth hypoxia leading to disability etc.

It's all out there, but marketers and editors aren't going to be waving it under your nose as it doesn't suit their agenda (which is to keep you breeding and buying stuff ;-) )

There was an article on the telegraph yesterday by Allison Pearson along these lines. MH affecting three times as many women because of this?

PoppyWearer Sun 26-May-13 15:53:53

OP, are you taking any kind of contraceptive pill?

I felt really depressed earlier this year, felt I was going crazy. Went to see my GP expecting her to put me on anti-depressants and instead she suggested I come off the pill for six weeks and see how I felt then.

How I felt was like a new woman! I have tons more energy. It happened almost over night. I really am back to "normal" except maybe one day a month when PMT gets me.

Also don't overlook the effects of sleep deprivation, it's a form of torture after all.

flanbase Sun 26-May-13 15:57:33

It's the no let up and tiredness. I find that by keeping a grip on other stress helps me cope. It's hard work and I have my things to keep on top of such as the washing and clearing up. If I let this go it makes me feel like I have huge jobs to tackle (which I do). Being kind to yourself and making a moment even in the chaos to relax is important. Just having a sip of tea is calming

NutsinMay Sun 26-May-13 16:07:34

Thanks for the responses. I'm not on any form of pill though I breasfeed for yonks so that might have screwed my hormones.

I read "What Mothers Do" a long time ago. Thanks for the suggestion. Maybe it's worth revisiting(and good luck with the birth of your twins itchy. For what it's worth I love the baby stage though many people don't).

I've found things have got harder in many ways over the years but think that's because I'm older and more tired and both children are talking and making lots more noise (arguing) etc. They do play nicely at other times.

I do read lots of threads on MN about people finding parenting hard (even regretting their children) but irl when you are out and about parents seem a lot more groomed and less tired than me.

Obviously it's often easier when you are out and about. I certainly get much more tearful/irritable at home and rarely in public.

I always wonder if all the "together" parents are themselves on their knees by bedtime willing their children to go to sleep so they can collapse on the sofa!

I agree with you flanbase sometimes the washing up and washing can seem endless. For the first time in my life a dishwwasher seems desirable.

TeaCuresEverything Sun 26-May-13 16:31:47

Felt compelled to answer this one.

I wouldnt say that being a parent has created any MH issues, but it has DEFINITELY exacerbated the ones I already had, and yet also healed others iyswim?
I was very depressed before I had my ds. Couldn't really see the point in much. Having ds has not cured it, but he has given me a reason, a point, in my life. And when I'm having a down day, it only takes one "I love you mummy" or feeling his little arms around my neck, and I'm smiling again.

However. I have emetophobia (fear of vomiting) and all the anxiety and worries that goes with that, and having my ds has made this 1000 times worse. But I don't regret him for a second. All parents worry more after dc's, and have more anxiety. You want to protect them from all the horrible things in the world, and you can't. Its enough to make anyone anxious.

Parenthood is HARD. Its without a doubt the hardest thing I've ever done. And I just have the one. I don't know how people manage with more than that! Its relentless, and can be a pretty thankless task. But those moments when they say something really cute, or do something that makes you melt - it makes it all worth it for me.

The other day ds says to me 'I love you mummy. Your my best and best!"

Made me well up. Parenthood its the single best and worst thing ever in different ways smile

maristella Sun 26-May-13 16:35:54

Absolutely. I became a completely fearful person overnight after finding out I was pregnant. DS is now in his mid teens, and I am stuck in a somewhat fearful mindset, although it definitely eased off bit by bit after he was a few months old smile

Pfaffer Sun 26-May-13 16:43:28

Oh god yes, it has affected my mental health.
I have issues from when I was a child (abandonment mostly) which I find have got much worse since becoming a parent. Prior to that, when it was MEMEME I could cope fine because I was strong. I think I lost my strength somewhere.
Also, there's the intensity of the bond. Probably because of the above, I do find it stifling at times and then at others I find it the loveliest thing ever. I'm not able to feel the same thing consistently though, and this is hard to smooth over internally.
Most of this wasn't applicable during the baby stage, I found the intensity of the talking during the toddler stage became far too much at times. SOmetimes I think I am badly formed as a parent but I muddle along.

Octopus37 Sun 26-May-13 17:03:30

Yes, definatey. I have two DS's aged 3 and 6 and find it incredibly hard. I work part time (self-employed mainly from home) and my youngest DS goes to nursery four mornings a week. I find that the lack of peace and quiet, constant interruptions and the mess threaten to push me over the edge sometimes. I can be very ratty and occasionally smack which I'm not proud of. For me, I think my hormones might be contributing and I have made a docs appointment for the week after next. I have days where I have thoughts such as"if my DH and I got divorced, he could have custody of the kids cause I can't do it anymore". By the way I love my boys dearly, but sometimes worry tha that there will be nothing left when the boys grow up. Also tbh really do not like the 3 year old stage, tantrums, demands so hard. Think on balance it is better to keep talking about it, have a good friend who used to work in mental health and has suffered badly from PND twice and it had been good to air my concerns. I think the biggest thing we all need to do it to keep talking.

Longdistance Sun 26-May-13 17:07:21

I know what you mean about getting anxious. I wish I was working though, rather than a sahm. Just general day to day stuff, like safety. If I forget something, it plays on my mind 'what am I going to do?' Just worry about lots of things. I don't sleep properly, and haven't done since dd1 was born. Sometimes get up in the night and stay up for a bit, worrying, and then go back to bed. Luckily dh gives dd's breakfast.
I'm not the woman I used to be.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Sun 26-May-13 17:18:55

The hardest year of my life ever ever ever was the first year of two children (two years apart). One child was a breeze - two was at least three times the work. DS hated DD on sight from birth and could not be left alone in the room with her at all - I had to sit behind a stairgate to feed her as he would hit her over the head whilst she was feeding otherwise. (DS was later diagnosed with ADHD/Oppositional behaviour) I had no family nearby and a DH who commuted and was out of the house from dawn til dusk. I honestly thought at one point I would "go under", and probably made some dreadful parenting decisions along the way.

BUT somehow I survived and fast forward, they are both grown ups and actually quite like each other now and are two young adults I am hugely proud of!!

Neither DH or I are "natural parents", and if we were starting out again maybe we would choose not to have children.

MrsHowardRoark Sun 26-May-13 17:29:33

Having my DD, although the best thing that's ever happened to me, has absolutely affected my mental health for the worse.

The sleep deprivation, the constant mess, the relentlessness of it all have eroded my patience. She is 18 months and a total sweetheart but I still find it all so hard. I don't think it's PND, more that it's really bloody hard looking after someone all the time.

I'm currently pregnant with no2 and I'm trying not to think about how much harder it will be with two.

I don't think I ever comprehended how my life wouldn't just change, it would be blown out of the water and replaced with a totally new one. This I have found immensely difficult.

chillinwithmyyonis Sun 26-May-13 17:37:12

For me its the overwhelming responsibility you have to keep them safe and happy, well fed, clean, its never ending and it does make me anxious.

My dc, 4 and 2, are good sleepers but they more than make up for it while theyre awake. My 4 yr old never, never stops talking, and is constantly asking what's the meaning of life type questions. My 2yr old has reached the tantrum and random whining stage. We've just tried to have a nice day out and it was like tantrum central, I did feel a bit jealous to see childless couples and old people enjoying their day without any whinging or drama.

It's bought issues I already had to the surface I think.

But, generally, having small children (or difficult older ones) is hugely exhausting and difficult, and generally speaking women are expected to shoulder an awful lot of it.

recently my ILs took our kids for the weekend so we could get on with some work on our house. the jobs we were doing were exhausting, but DH and I both felt really well rested afterwards!

IrnBruTheNoo Sun 26-May-13 17:50:06

"Yet although there have been times in my life when I've felt low, anxious, possibly more than that, I've never felt as anxious, stressed, neurotic, controlling, irritable, occasionally close to the edge as I have had since having children."

Bloody hell, are you me?! That's exactly what I was about to type more or less.

I am an emotional wreck since having DC and I'm actually surprised people are not more open about it. No one can possibly know for themselves what it's like until they've had DC for themselves. I knew it would be stressful but not as stressful as it is.

SoleSource Sun 26-May-13 17:54:24


So alone, unsupported, 'o sympathy or understanding when DS was blind.

DS has no speech and i can't socialise.with him because of his.Autism

I'm isolated and alone

I talk to myself

SoleSource Sun 26-May-13 17:57:28

And i am sick to death of his constant fuckin shitting.

hard smell to get off hands

But he is sweet, calm and loving

I feel i have coped by living in a fantasy world of another life

I've had to snap out of that one

FromGirders Sun 26-May-13 18:06:33

Taking some extra vitamins really helped me with the grinding tiredness. HV recommended B6, and I really notice it when I forget to take it for a while.
It gets easier as the kids get a bit older, a wee bit more independent and you can make them help with the washing up and the laundry.
Hang on in there!

Saski Sun 26-May-13 18:15:11

I spent a lot of my early mother days feeling very low. It's easy to underestimate how incredibly boring and stressful it can be.

When people say" I love every single minute of being a mommy" I am just incredulous.

MiniTheMinx Sun 26-May-13 18:16:05

I have often wondered if the "together parents" collapse in a heap too. Then I wonder if they think the same. How can you possibly know when there is so much pressure to get everything right. Even looking on line for kid's clothes, looking at images of smiling families on beach holidays and mums who are glowing with health and happiness can make me question if I could be doing more.

I don't think my mental health is worse but the issues are different. Before I was a fruit loop, emotional relationships with huge highs and terrible lows, too much partying combined with very long hours and not enough sleep. Whereas now I am calmer and more level, I am less creative, feel stuck, can't see a way ahead, less ambitious, less outgoing and think too many "what ifs" to make plans.

For me it's the huge compromises and changes and the feeling that I can't plan ahead. Everything I see myself doing, both before and after having DCs doesn't seem to involve them. Some days I find myself counting down not the hours but the days, years even. Although I wouldn't be without them and strangely find the more time I spend with them the more I enjoy them.

calypso2008 Sun 26-May-13 18:17:17

I am so glad you started this thread OP

I am blessed with the best DD you could hope for, but, as others have said, it has bought every single anxiety from before to the fore, plus some more hmm

I go to sleep and wake up in a panic all the time, wondering if I have missed school pick up, where DD is, if she is ok. Really mental behaviour. It is ususally 3am or something ridiculous. I worry, worry, worry.

On the surface, my life looks perfect. (apart from my husband and I separating, but that has nothing to do with the child worry - his absolute lack of help and living in his country and not mine may have contributed though)

In reality, I have not been relaxed for 5 years.

I used to be the most confident and successful person ever. I have lost all confidence and sense of self.

In short - you are not alone!

Oblomov Sun 26-May-13 18:30:22

I totally understand. I think this is something that experts just don't want to write about.
I had no/minimal MH issues pre children. Come from totally living family and had never been depressed.

One was hard. Two, I find hard to cope with. I fought to get ds1 diagnosed autistic. Nightmare. Ds2 is totally different - a loud handful. I am a diabetic, and that has gone mad. I am tired and have no sexdrive. My consultant and gp have tried, but are clueless.
I love my husband so much and am astonished that my marriage has survived.

Lionessy Sun 26-May-13 18:35:55

Yes, it has turned me into a complete neurotic mess but having a child die at birth and almost losing another to an undiagnosed illness can have that effect so I am told.

I have 4 of the buggers now. All drive me insane but they are loved endlessly. The twins almost finished me off I have to say!

Currently I am in a complete meltdown because DH had taken the younger 3 swimming and then to the park and they are not back yet. All sorts of horrific things have been running through my head - that the 2 year old has been abducted, that they have had a car crash etc all because bloody 'H' has forgotten his phone! DD is currently out with friends and should be back by 7pm but I also worry that something terrible may happen to her. Dinner is getting cold and I am in panic mode sad.

I am probably an extreme case as my childhood was also horrible and my need to protect my DCs is very strong but yes, I would say being a parent has driven me nuts grin. I was a very together, confident person before I had them but I suppose I would rather be like this and have them than be the person I used to be in a weird kind of way!

Lionessy Sun 26-May-13 18:42:35

Phew they are back. Need a bloody lie down now!

curryeater Sun 26-May-13 18:48:46

Great thread. Huge hugs to all struggling. Will write more when not on phone. X

CityGal29 Sun 26-May-13 18:51:33

For me, it's majorly brought on self image and body issues.

Post DD I managed to bf for a year & did VLCD to lose weight and was totally back to normal at 18m. But being a size 16 for ages etc and I was mid 20s and none of friends having babies was hard, always being the fat one..

Then after DS put on 4st, developed underactive thyroid & basically gone a bit mental, completely obsessed by it all and found only way to avoid weight gain is to live off fish and salad and diet milkshakes. I'm now 7lb off Pre pregnancy weight but completely obsessed with all weight things and terrified I will put weight back on.

Really want DC 3 but the thought of having a bigger wobbly tunmy occupies my thoughts 24/7 & keep googling what size pregnant bumps are at certain weeks etc and its looking like about 8months of looking pregnant then 18m at least of being massively fat, probably fatter than before as people gain more.. Argh can't face it. hmm

apatchylass Sun 26-May-13 18:56:56

It's had a solely positive effect on my MH. I've had clinical depression all my life, since mid teens (am now nearly 50.) Only since having DC have I really taken responsibility for the illness and taken necessary steps to treat it. Before, I just used to let my life unravel for years on end. But you can't do that to children. Consequently, my parenting years have been the stablest and happiest of my life. I attribute my health to my DC. Without them, I'd be seriously unwell far more often.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Sun 26-May-13 18:58:08

I don't know. Sleep deprivation has definitely affected my mental health - I had a thread on here a week or two ago where as couple of posters suggested I might be depressed, but I really don't think I am: the couple of times I've felt properly rested since DS was born I've snapped back to being my old self. (Ironically those times have been when I've been travelling for work: I've been busy, but I've been able to go to bed and have uninterrupted sleep. The difference it makes is unbelievable.)

The whole experience of becoming a parent (for me, anyway) is like having a bomb go off and blow your life apart: you can rebuild it, and some bits of it may end up better than before, but the process is painful. I only have one - I'm not risking any more! I'm in awe of anyone who can cope with more than one.

calypso2008 Sun 26-May-13 19:01:39

In short, having thought about this during DD's bathtime, I think if you had any issues in childhood, any current issues with husband/partner, other issues, as in work problems, body image, living abroad etc etc... then they become so much worse. Being a mother makes you the most vulnerable you will ever be.

I wouldn't change it though - I am just disappointed I seem to find it, internally, so worrying.

What have I done today? Today DD went with her father at 10.30 and was dropped off at 5pm. Well, I did nothing. Except, I didn't stop doing shite - dishwasher, bedding, other laundry, cleaning, organsing stuff for school tomorrow. Catching up on important emails, shopping and cooking.

So dull. sole I also talk to myself.

GhostOfTheRobot Sun 26-May-13 19:04:27

I quite often cry at the end of a hard day. This leads to feelings of guilt that I've damaged them because I can't cope and they'll have hang-ups.
My parents caused a lot of stress so I am very sensitive to my own behavior.
I would say having children has upped the stress definitely. I scrutinize my own parenting constantly and try not to worry about what other parents are doing but it's hard. I think this is a very common feeling tbh, just not openly discussed, as people have said.

My first response was to think YOU HAVE NO DISHWASHER?!

But god yes my MH is shot to pieces. Anxious - check, sleep deprived - check. Can't relax - check. Never ending grind - check.

God it is hard. I do find it easier though as baby stage was rock hard (youngest waking every 20 mins at night at the low point).

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Sun 26-May-13 19:08:58

DH and I often find at the end of a tough day when we've both been at home (i.e usually the weekend) that we're fighting over the chores because neither of us has a scrap of energy to deal with DS. I agree with the poster above who said one of the hardest things is that weekends are tougher than work days.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Sun 26-May-13 19:13:07

Sorry, just realised my post above wasn't clear: I meant we're fighting to do chores so the other one looks after DS for a bit!

TallyGrenshall Sun 26-May-13 19:16:21

It has definitely affected mine for the worse. I had some mild 'ishoos' before but now it's so much worse. Even the smallest thing seems huge so I have hidden away from it, which makes it worse.

I think I feel like everything is my responsibilty (even though DP has always done his share without me prompting) and every little thing is something of such importance that if I get it wrong, DS will be irreperably screwed up for life.

IrnBruTheNoo Sun 26-May-13 19:16:36

This weekend is nearly over and I cannot wait for it to be a school day for DC1. It has been tough to fight back the tears during today.

Salbertina Sun 26-May-13 19:25:45

A little anecdote to cheer people up, hopefully.

I am fortunate to live near a location beautiful enough to be commonly used for shooting upmarket kids clothes ads. It's hilarious to watch the filming, you see the "mums", shiny and bright-eyed 20-somethings immaculately clad in white linen only being paired with "their children" at the v last minute. Behind all this, out of shot, there's a line of deck-chairs where sit the real parents, ordinary looking, a good decade older and enjoying the rest.. They're surrounded by bags, buggies, toys and other paraphernalia, none of which makes it on camera!

Salbertina Sun 26-May-13 19:28:29

But to add, yes, it has affected my MH, for good and for ill. There's a Kate Figes book, forgotten the name, about (the horrors of) pregnancy, labour, the first year.. An accurate and sobering read.

calypso2008 Sun 26-May-13 19:33:31

Ha Ha Salbertina grin

I agree also, that weekends are hardest. Especially if you are a lone parent.

I have 15 weeks of summer holiday to get through this year, worrying the whole time that I am doing enough, arranging enough, swimming enough - you get the picture.

Other mothers I envy just sort of don't give a damn and I am sure their children are happier. Although DD does seem very happy and her teacher says she is extremely well adjusted, I worry she picks up on my worry... and so it goes on, and on, and on...

I hate breastfeed by the way. The hormones make me absolutely utterly depressed, zero sex drive. Close to tears. But I feel too guilty to not do it because physically I have no issues.

Fucking guilt.

Wishiwasanheiress Sun 26-May-13 19:42:05

Good grief yes. I always feel responsible. I am still shocked there is never an 'of'f moment when I'm me. Two years later!

I now feel I should put a qualifier. That I love my kids. Which, of course I do. I never ever understood what my mum did.

But boy do I find myself saying stuff she did, "why can't you just help me?" "Do I have to do everything ?" The responsibility can be overwhelming at times. Amazing and all good things, but sometimes when it's quiet I look around and just think......jeez......this is really hard.....

Chubfuddler Sun 26-May-13 19:43:49

I am very together as a mother but yes I do collapse in a heap and drink wine after they go to bed. Plus I work so I do not have 24 hour parenting except weekends, when I actually enjoy it because it is a break from the working week routine for us all. I can imagine if every day was me and a toddler I would probably stick my head in a gas oven. I adore my children but 24/7 would destroy me.

I feel things much more deeply and my anxiety is much worse. I don't think I was anxious before. I imagine terrible things happening to my DCs. I realised when I imagined they would be abducted from the garden that I had to get control of it and I stop negative thoughts before the take hold.

I think about my own demise much more and I hate it if the family are separated as I imagine half of the family being on an accident and the other half left grieving and damaged.

I used to work but started getting panic attacks and crying on loos at work which is ironic really as my career fell down the toilet. I went from being a force at work to not being listened to or promoted for 3 years. I was so stressed.

I then became a SAHM after DD2 and initially it was a relief to not feel the pressure but now I just feel alone and sad so often. No leaning in from me!

Also, I've had 3 years of bad sleep. Maybe a handful of unbroken sleep. My short term memory is crap and I struggle to remember words that I've even worried about early dementia! So I wonder whether the whole going back to work thing is just an unrealistic dream. Perhaps I'm broken!

MonstersDontCry Sun 26-May-13 20:09:37

Reading this thread has nearly had me in tears. I can relate to so much of what everyone has written.

Everything changed after DD was born. I just turned into a different person over night. I'm pregnant with DC2 and just trying not to think about how hard it going to be. Especially as DD still doesn't sleep all night.

I don't regret DD or this pregnancy for a second, but I know 100% I would choose to be childless you lived more than once.

MiniTheMinx Sun 26-May-13 20:22:32

SauceFor I'm sure your not broken, just feel like it sometimes. I know the feeling of wondering if you could ever cope with work again.

I gave up when DS1 was 18months old. I returned after ML to find that my manager in her wisdom had allocated two extra teams to me, one of which was in an area I had no experience in plus she was angling for me to take over a more senior role managing another service. She didn't have children, so there was no reasoning with her. I had the opposite problem but stress and pressure all the same.

I now work from home, self-employed because I could never envisage a time when I would be able to return to my previous work. I'm not the same person but slowly finding a new version, somewhat weighted down with extra responsibilities and worries. But it is possible eventually to work again, even after a long break.

MidLine Sun 26-May-13 20:26:03

Was just thinking about this yesterday. I also love my dd more than I thought possible but I think I can honestly say that in the nearly 7 months since I've had her I've not had one minute were I've felt truly relaxed.

I'm an anxious/worrier type anyway but it has increased since she's born. Mine manifests itself by obsessing about her sleeping and I am sleep deprived also which I know doesn't help. I do love the stage she's at now but there are times when I really just wish she was older when "things will be easier" but looks like that might be a fantasy.

It's almost like, even on a really nice day where everything has "worked" the enjoyment is still blunted in a way by anxiety and, like others have said, that I've done something that may have damaged her some how.

Having read some of your posts, I do question why so many of you have gone on to have more dc, when you've found it so hard? I don't mean this in a critical way, I'm genuinely interested how you decided to do so as there are days where I question if I could do it again, which is sad considering I said I wanted loads of children before I had dd, and she really is a happy, beautiful, easy baby in most ways.

fallingpetra Sun 26-May-13 20:34:55

I already had MH issues but yes, being a parent definitely exacerbated them. DS is a teenager now so these days it's nothing to do with sleepless nights, body issues or exhaustion. It is hard work through all the stages of parenting (no, it doesn't get easier as they get older! grin. Parenting has been harder than usual for me as DS has autism and I was also a single mum (like a few other posters here).

I am not one of those who'll blindly encourage other women to try for dc and that they'll never regret it - I do get slightly irritated when I read those sorts of responses on MN. It's worked out for us, but I know I would never want to have another child again (I am on the most reliable form of contraception available and I wouldn't consider not having a termination if it failed).

MrsHowardRoark Sun 26-May-13 20:38:37

I'm having another because I want my Dd to have at least one sibling. I come from a large family and my relationship with sister and cousins is very close.

Also, my DP would love to have loads of children and I knew this before we got together. Honestly, I'd be happy with one but I feel a bit selfish.

NutsinMay Sun 26-May-13 20:44:47

The Kate Figes book is "Life after Birth" and yes I've read that too, great book as is "Three Shoes one Sock and No Hairbrush" which speaks honestly, to me anyway, about having your second child though it's got a roasting by many on Amazon who find it depressing. Maybe don't read it if you are pregnant but it's good if you have two and are struggling.

I'm humbled by many of these posts esp: SoleSource, that sounds very tough and bleak andLionessy so sorry to hear about your experiences.

Thanks to everyone who has posted. I am comforted, reassured, moved and fascinated by this thread.

NutsinMay Sun 26-May-13 20:51:20

"Having read some of your posts, I do question why so many of you have gone on to have more dc, when you've found it so hard? I don't mean this in a critical way, I'm genuinely interested how you decided to do so as there are days where I question if I could do it again, which is sad considering I said I wanted loads of children before I had dd, and she really is a happy, beautiful, easy baby in most ways"

I put off having DD2 for quite a while. DP was keener but then he wasn't going to be doing most of the childcare. Although I found one a lot easier(rose tinted spectacles and all that), I knew I would not be able to cope with two without a lot more support.

I kept saying to DP, I will consider No2 but only if you can give me a lot more support. He is supportive in many ways but no I didn't get as much support as I needed.

I agree with pp, the first year of two was probably the hardest of my life(and my second baby was really easy compared to my second).

I have always had bad sleepers(at night) though and I think waking up in the night and then dealing with a baby who naps a lot in the day(so you can rest) is a walk in the park compared to waking up loads in the night and then having to deal with a grumpy toddler who wants to "kill" her sibling in the day .

MacMac123 Sun 26-May-13 20:51:57

This is an amazing thread.
I've just been in tears as had huge row with DH. I left him with 6mo while I had day with DS who is 4. Came back to discover kitchen is bombsite, and although I was pissed off with him, was also pleased because I felt he might realise how hard it is for me to keep kitchen and house under control with the kids (which I always manage) and I also run my own business so even though on maternity leave I have to deal with work emails and calls in the daytimes too.

So He caught me smirking, I admitted I was pleased yes that he'd clearcue realised he couldnt even keep kitchen tidy and look after Dd, cue row and him saying I'm so mean spirited and I hadn't even asked if he'd had a nice day with his daughter as I was so busy gloating (this is true!!)

it made me think I'm not sure what's become of me.

Sometimes I feel so lost. There are things I can never imagine doing again, ie not feeling underlying anger with DH, enjoying sex, going to a nightclub, drinking shots. Like all of you, I love my kids but I live in fear of something happening to them. My mind never stops racing with things I have to do and I'm sure I'm suffering sleep deprivation as Dd not slept through in 6 months.

I'm not depressed but yes in some way my mental health has been affected. I'm not who I used to be and I can't imagine finding that person again.

SoleSource Sun 26-May-13 21:07:28

I live on fear of other peoples prejudice. Latest remark about my DS was that he reminded someone of Mr Bean. OK funny but not really as his no speech has almost driven me loopy.

I'm proud i am so fucking strong.

Live in fear he might be physically/emotionally/sexually abused too

NutsinMay Sun 26-May-13 21:20:09

SoleSource- I cannot begin to imagine how hard your life must be and how brave you must be. I know you don't have a partner butdo hope you have someone, somewhere rooting for you.

Sometimes admidst the noise and chaos, I long for a silent house.
Your post has made me realise how lucky I am.

NutsinMay, I could of wrote your post today. My dh went out for 12 hour shift and I was up at 6am with crazy 3 year old ds and also have 14 year old dd. When dh came home from work I was really tearful and said I had had a horrible day and ds was a nightmare.
I have completely given up alcohol as even being the tiniest bit below par was like some form of torture with ds and I definitely felt my mental health deteriorating.
I work as a health visitor and can give parenting advice until the cows come home yet with my own son I can't manage him.
You have my sympathies xx

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 26-May-13 21:45:14

What a great, and frankly reassuring, thread! Glad it's not just me.

One of the hardest things I find is that I have very little sense of self left. DD (almost 2) comes first and everything I might want to do comes way, way down the list of priorities. Obviously, this is how it should be in some respects, but sometimes, just sometimes, I want to go somewhere for me or have lunch in a cafe that isn't baby friendly. Does that make sense?

Another thing that has affected me - not sure if mental health wise, but definitely affected me in some way, is the way in which DH and my relationship has changed. We both used to have pretty decent careers, earned about the same, and somewhere in all that, I felt a sense of validation. Now he's continued on a fabulous career trajectory and I'm 'just mum'. And I honestly believe, deep down, that I'm doing the right thing for DD by being at home with her. I just don't know if it's the right thing for me, short or long term.

I long for more aspects to my life - the person I was or could be again at work, perhaps, as well as my role as a parent, rather than just the parent role. This is compounded by the fact that we moved overseas when DD was small so that DH could gain a promotion and due to visa restrictions, I'm not allowed to work where we live now. And then I feel guilty because I have friends who would kill to be in the position I am in now, not having to work, but some days I want to scream with frustration. I spent 5 years at university, and sometimes (most days, in fact) I'm counting the hours until bedtime.

I am currently PG with DC2 so none of this has stopped me wanting more DC - but I'm not the me I used to be. At all. I miss my old self.

Finally - sorry this is so long btw - I agree with the posters who talk about tiredness and its effects. I didn't have PND but the constant interrupted sleep is horrendous.

I wouldn't change DD for the world but it's hard!

NeedlesCuties Sun 26-May-13 21:47:18

So glad it isn't just me.

With my PFB he was such an easy-going baby and I got caught up in my pride and thought it was because of my sterling work as a mum.... 2.5 years later and DD was born and I seriously knew my arse from my elbow.

She's much more high maintenance, although very lovely, but seriously I am eating all the bullshit I spouted when DS was my only one.

I feel a bit like I've lost myself, who I used to be, and time isn't as fluid as it used to seem. I'm only 28, but sometimes I feel like an old lady - lacking sleep, tied to my house, tied to my routines (well, the routines of school pick-ups, nap times etc).

I have single or childless friends who head out to clubs at 11pm, after spending hours getting dressed and made up. The mere idea of that staggers me, although I know I used to do it, just seems a world ago! Now by 9pm I'm slobbed out on sofa in my jammies, having a sneaky glass of wine and eating toast when I've finally got DC to sleep.

Great thread OP, thanks for starting it.

NutsinMay Sun 26-May-13 21:56:31

I know there was a time when I didn't want to go to the local shop without my make-up on and used to spend ages getting ready to go out, trying on different outfits, spending ages doing hair and make-up.

Sometimes I have to get out of the house with the DC so badly that I haven't even showered, let alone done anything with my face and hair. In some ways it's quite liberating that you don't have the time to obsess about your clothes/looks but then I catch sight of myself in the mirror and it's awful. At least on work days I do have to make more of an effort even if I have to shower in ten minutes and do my make-up on the bus.

When I was on maternity I once went two weeks without washing my hair.

curryeater Sun 26-May-13 22:00:49

Sorry if this post is disjointed and bullety but there are so many things I want to say.

- firstly, thank you all for such brilliant, brave and articulate writing. You are all such heroes and I am so privileged to read all this.

- secondly, I was reminded by my asthma inhaler just now on the way to bed, that childbearing can take a terrible toll on your physical health which affects your mental health. I was perinatal for about 4 years (with only two children!) between pregnancy and bfing (still bfing dc1 when pg with dc2) and so never, ever well: spd, asthma, all that shit (I don't know why pregnancy caused my asthma but it did). My parents' generation are all in families of 10 or 12 and it is horrible to think of women like me (some of them must have been like me) being ill their whole adult lives. Or maybe it just killed them.

- Why have two? because a. I didn't want the first one to be alone when we died (hormonal freakout) and b. I thought life would actually be easier once they weren't babies because they would support each other socially (I still think this and am starting to see it come true, not just in the sense that they are friends with each other, but with each other's support they are more confident going out as a unit to make other friends) and c. conditioning. I knew hardly any only children growing up and can't imagine being without siblings and just thought we really should at least have a go.

- sleep deprivation is of the devil. It is unbearable and nearly broke me so many times. So many times I have read on here, "well, a lot of it will be sleep deprivation - " and thought SO WHAT? SHE CAN'T SOLVE THE SLEEP DEPRIVATION. IT IS HELL. It is like saying to someone dying of starvation, "don't worry, dear, a lot of it is just lack of food."

- just want another point about sleep deprivation. Just to say, FUCKING HELL, SLEEP DEPRIVATION. on and on and fucking on, on and on. FUCKING HELL.

- Someone above said, among the things they can't imagine "not feeling underlying anger with DH". Yes, that is a problem, along with the FUCKING SLEEP DEPRIVATION. My dp looked after dc1 for 2 days a week starting when she was 9 months old and he found it hard - but he got her when I had night-weaned her, she slept through the night, and ALTHOUGH I WAS WOH 4 DAYS AND HE 3 DAYS AND THE CM WHO DID 2 DAYS NEEDED 3 MEALS A DAY DELIVERED, HE TOOK MEALS THAT I HAD PREPPED AND STORED OUT OF THE FREEZER ON HIS DAYS WITH HER. I can't believe how angry I am about that to this day, and she is 4. Everything about how we did those early days was just a great big chute of shit falling on me.

- and he patronised me for "not coping" but actually I was propping him up all the goddamned time, whether he knew it or not.

- then there was the time we went to a little zoo and she lay sleeping in the pram and he harrassed me for not looking excited enough and not taking any pictures of the monkeys and I cried because I had just been feeling happy about standing still in the sun and not having to do anything with my arms for 5 minutes.

- he is not a total git and looking back on it I put up with a lot of stuff which maybe if on better form I would have explained better.

- but the whole thing is I was on shit form constantly and didn't have the resources of fucking Don Draper to sell my predicament to him in a darkened room with a resonant voice and some artists to show him what my fucking situation was in a brilliant slogan and some fabulous image so I was just kind of flailing saying things like "I don't know, what would you like for dinner?" when I should have been saying "DINNER IS YOUR CONCERN. I AM SHERLOCK, YOU ARE HOLMES. I AM IN A STATE OF BEING YOU CANNOT EVEN IMAGINE RIGHT NOW. ARE YOU ON MY SIDE OR NOT? WOULD YOU COOK, OR SEE HOLMES GO HUNGRY?" or you know, whatever Don Draper would say about the sitch.


- ok I am totally off-topic now

- yes, there is something utterly appalling about having babies that does damage you and you will never be the same again. At the time it is happening it means you are effectively functionally not the same person. it is terrifying.

- but I hope, however long it takes, you come back in some different-looking form, like Dr Who. My girls are talking now and the difference in how I feel is incredible, because I like people who are articulate. And because you can, very gently, manipulate them and fuck them off. dd1 "I'VE GOT A SNOTTY NOSE!!!!!!!!!!" me: "I put the tissues out for you because big girls blow their own noses. Do you want me to treat you like a baby?" job done.

- sorry about the obscene length of this, I have only scratched the surface.

- I love you all xxxxxx

margarethamilton Sun 26-May-13 22:01:25

Is the stress etc actually doing damage to my physical health? Is it normal? Does anyone else think they are going mad?

This worries me, the long term damage the stress, tiredness, anxiety etc. could cause. DD is 9 months old. I love the bones of her (spent 5 years trying, 5 rounds of treatment for infertility, one horrible miscarriage). But the change to my life is something I was ill prepared for. The loneliness and isolation have had the greatest impact on my mental health. Some days, I yearn for my old life.

calypso2008 Sun 26-May-13 22:04:27

wibblypig Ï can relate to everything you have just posted. I am in a very similar situation under similar circumstances. (only 1 DD though)

MacMac123 Sun 26-May-13 22:09:15

Lol curry eater!
It was me who said about the underlying anger with DH.
And I also prop him up by preparing and freezing the meals for the kids! angry

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Sun 26-May-13 22:13:48

curryeater, I just wanted to support everything you say about sleep deprivation. I would be able to buy my own island if I had £1 for every time in the last two and three-quarter years that I've thought "Everything would be fine IF I COULD ONLY SLEEP". If someone had warned me that you can go on for years with a child who doesn't sleep through the night, I would have slit my wrists early on. DH completely pulls his weight but that just means both of us are permanently exhausted. And I also get The Rage when someone says on here "it's just sleep deprivation". There is no "just" about it!

And breathe...

Shakey1500 Sun 26-May-13 22:28:25

First want to say to Curry that I absolutely relate to your zoo story.

DS was always an early riser and I thanked God/whoever/whatever that Cbeebies was available at stupid o' clock. Me being Anxious Mc Anxious and not being able to take my eyes off him (for fear he would fall and split his head open-ambulance-shit mum) I would LONG for the theme tunes as it was the only time that DS was still and entranced. It meant I could close my eyes for 20 seconds (yes, I counted).

When did it all get so hard? Was it always thus and just under-reported? Taboo? What can we do? It's a time bomb really isn't it?

I have posted on the "regretting children" thread and I am aware that some posters are distressed at reading it but honestly, something needs to be done. I have no idea what. (not saying that anyone on here feels that btw)

Pfaffer Sun 26-May-13 22:32:11

Curryeater, the situation you describe of being at the zoo...enjoying just not doing something with your arms for five minutes: I am out of that phase now but I remember it so well. I see friends coping physically, constantly with their lovely children and I know they're going through it too and there is really very little I can do to help. I remember that feeling of 'Who can help me?' and the sheer anger I felt that it wouldn't be DH because he just did. not. get. it.

Anyway for all of you, there is hope, you do come out of the sleep deprivation and your children grow and develop and things do get better. DS had a holiday with his grandfather last year and we had a week alone and within about three days we were back to afternoon shagging and dinner when we could be bothered and lots of music and chat. It gave me total hope.

Pfaffer Sun 26-May-13 22:33:40

I have a friend who's late 30s, really ambivalent about having children, knows she's got to do something soon if at all. Once I gave her a run-down of all this sort of shit. I don't think she's forgiven me yet.

LimeLeaffLizard Sun 26-May-13 22:39:23

Really interesting thread, thanks.

I have 4 DC aged 8, 4, 2 and 3 months, and am fine in terms of mental health at the moment. Lots of people who see me when I'm out comment on how well I look and how I'm coping so well (they are being kind!), but of course I feel shattered and stressed sometimes. It is bloody hard work and there are times when I feel like a cartoon character with steam coming out of my ears, but I have developed certain coping mechanisms now.

The first year of having DC2 was also the hardest time for me. I remember crying over the fishfingers thinking 'what has my life come to?!' I was depressed during my third pregnancy, this was the lowest in terms of mental health.

After that I have been fine mentally. I think I just let go of the expectations I had previously. I allow myself to be numb to things that would have bothered me before, especially mess and noise! It also helps if you stop worrying about whether you're doing it right (just do what works for you), accept that whatever you do there will be someone judging you (ignore them), and ditch the guilt as far as possible (no-one is perfect, you are doing a good enough job).

There are some people who do an amazing job considering everything they go through. SoleSource you make me feel humble.

LimeLeaffLizard Sun 26-May-13 22:46:15

ps loved the anecdote about photo shoot for kids clothes... it is so obvious that the models in such photos have never actually had children!

I think media and marketing have a lot to answer for in terms of making us feel bad about ourselves as parents... they peddle an unobtainable and untrue image of perfection.

I found 'The Mommy Myth'here a good read on this subject - was recommended by my psycologist when I was depressed.

curryeater Sun 26-May-13 22:52:29

The funny thing is, a part of me knew it was going to be like this, as I had seen it, all of it, realistically, a lot. And I had children late, not knowing if I wanted them at all, for all these reasons. I don't like mess, I don't like having to get up early, I don't like noise, I don't like having to be with people all the time, I don't like housework, I practically have a phobia of shit (to the point that my mother recently told me that her main concern when I told her I was pregnant was how would I cope with nappies), I basically am a pretentious waste of space who just wants real life to fuck off so I can write a novel while listening to Mahler. So in a sense I was quite right when I thought, till I was 36, you know, maybe I should not do this baby thing ever at all. But I don't regret having children at all. I have learnt I can do things almost impossible to me and I love them love them love them. And now I will never kill myself. I will never ever be the mother who left her children through suicide. So in some ways for my mental health that is a great step forward.

Still hoping for the Dr Who transformation. I will never be the gorgeous and wicked person I used to be, but I can come back as someone else gorgeous and wicked. When there are no nappies and no crying in the night. You just sort of go into a cupboard for a while and then you come out again, a bit different, like someone who has been in a lift for 7 (?) years and read nothing, nothing at all, in that time.

I suppose for me, it is easier in that I always struggled with my weight so I know how to lose fat - baby weight is no different from any other weight once you stop bfing, but I think it hits some people hard because they never had to diet before. I know I will always have to watch it, and I do. but I knew that when I was 15.

The thing is (ok sorry if this is offensive but I have had a few so I might tread on some toes): I think some children need people like me to be mothers and to be around children. The people who work at dd1's pre-school are brilliant and wonderful and talented and subtle and clever and I could never in a million years do their job. BUT, they are children-people. I can see their influence in dd1 who talks in a certain Capitalised way about Certain Concepts as if she is playing to a gallery of cretins and I just want to say, calm down love, we get it. There is a shouty crude corralling-and-chivvying manner about all the people who are naturally good at this sort of thing, and they apply it to adults too, and it makes me feel rebellious and sulky and they often don't get certain things. I think people like me who are not natural-children's-centre-people are important for children and young people, because there will come a time when they grow out of ADULTS-WHO-ARE-GOOD-WITH-CHILDREN and need to see the other side of the story - there is always another side. So if all parents were only the ones who can do all that shouty enunciated Early Years stuff, then some children would be very alienated and lonely.

calypso2008 Sun 26-May-13 23:05:24

I so get what you are saying ther curryeater. I think I am quite like you in my attitude, hence I feel a little alienated when it comes to all things children.

I live in Spain, so my DD is bilingual, when she talks in Spanish it is with all that you describe above, really over acted speech and very loud, as you illustrate perfectly. In English (she only gets from me) she is far more serious and clever (dare i say) but I worry I am too adult with her. But I hate hearing the way she almost puts on a show when she speaks in Spanish, as it is is what she has learned as it is the attitude she is faced with every day. as you say, 'adults who are good with children'

Alienates me further. The parents at school all speak to their children like they are imbeciles, in a very slow and very loud way. I am the odd one out, seriously worrying the whole time that I am NOT FUN!

calypso2008 Sun 26-May-13 23:10:26

Frankly, I don't think I am fun grin

Sorry, been on the wine too.

MiniTheMinx Sun 26-May-13 23:23:30

Curry I can really relate to the underlying anger. 12 years later and it still festers. He tries but he isn't very intuitive, which results in me making endless lists, printing rotas, giving directions. Jumping in when he has trashed the kitchen, melted the washing basket to the top of the ceramic hob, (to this day I don't know how!) flooded the bathroom because he was distracted. (he was tired) left baby to fall face down out of his chair........too many to list.

Shakey1500 I think idealisation of the nuclear family has a lot to answer for. From my understanding things haven't always been this way. It's interesting how we advise others to join mother and toddler and other groups to make friends. Maybe it replaces the support we might have had in extended families or further back in tribal societies. Reading Engles at the mo, societies have been organised very differently in the past with women living in groups supporting each other. But should you question whether nuclear families are healthy and natural, whether this causes isolation and depression, then it's made clear that once again the individual is at fault......."go out and join mother and baby group" is the standard advice followed by "go back to work" and do a double shift.

TallyGrenshall Sun 26-May-13 23:56:19

O god yes - the Good-With-Children people just make me want to scream/feel worse/sit in a corner gibbering, especially DS' nursery teacher who speaks to adults with the same slow tone. I want to shake her whilst yelling that I am 30 bloody 3, not 4.

blondieminx Mon 27-May-13 00:01:36

Such an interesting thread.

I can so relate to the anxiety. I used to be so confident, now I'm always worrying will everything be ok (and niggle over mundane stuff like did I pack enough snack, will DD enjoy this or that activity, am I doing enough with her).

Coming out the other side of terrible 2's has helped - but in the darkest days I found myself wailing to the GP about not coping and leaving with a scrip for sleeping pills as I was not able to sleep properly because of my anxiety issues! Which I then worried about taking, in case DD woke up in the night...!

In answer to the OP, yes and more yes.

I'm 26, I have 3 children 8,6 and 6 months and my days goes like this..

Wake up.. Thought pattern is as follows...

' sigh DS is resisting medication again, (he has cystic fibrosis) life is so unfair why does he have to do all this when he's going to die young anyway (harsh but probably true) ..........

Oh god the baby is asleep on his face is he breathing?... Yup and oh good he's crying again and wants feeding.. Oh my boobs are wrecked, look at them hanging out on my saggy, 'mum' stomach...

Gosh the front room is a mess, I tidied it before bed... Shit the kitchen is ten times worse... Please DS just do your nebuliser is 6 years but enough for you to give in and be used to it?

Baby needs changing, best do that then get DS2 up, lovely babies nappy has leaked again... Oh and DS2 is crying because he can't find his uniform... His stammer is so much worse today...

Are the lunch boxes made? Yes did that before bed, do I have the car keys or has DP taken them to work by accident again? Which one will get in a fight at school today? Will the baby nap? ...


This. All day. Everyday. It's exhausting, my body is breaking down, my mind is in ribbons. I love them so h keep going because just sometimes I step back and get a snapshot of the baby laughing, the elder 2 celebrating a football win, the house tidy! My MH is shot but meh, I think it's worth the constant inner battle.

mercury7 Mon 27-May-13 01:39:01

yes I found it very hard, I felt as if I had 2 millstones around my neck I felt panicky pretty much the whole time, the constant bickering was especially wearing.
They are grown up now and we all appear to have survived my woefully inadequate parenting.

From my current vantage point, if I could have my time again I'd not choose to be a parent, I'm dreading the possibility of grandchildren

mercury7 Mon 27-May-13 01:45:12

oh, I absolutely do love my children, i did my best for them but mostly it was pretty rubbish

MaMattoo Mon 27-May-13 05:42:51

Thanks for starting this one..
It has not just impacted my mental health, there is an impact on my relationship with DH, family, friends, career, how I view issues of health, patenting, diet, education. How I see myself, view my parents, fellow parents etc. we know that anxiety, tiredness and a complete lack of time have a roll on effect. But very few us have the mental bandwidth to remember it when we are in the middle of if. It's the relentlessness that gets me, when it does.
When we argue, DH tends to repeat that I am a 'different person' since baby. A pity that there is little I can show him to read/see that I am not alone. This thread might help..do thank you!

Emsmaman Mon 27-May-13 08:10:58

Thank you to everyone sharing their stories. I could write paragraphs but most has already been said. I have never been closer to depression than in the first year of dds life. I don't think I was, it was (is) sleep deprivation.

It is also massively upsetting when the one person you think you can rely on (dh) doesn't recognize what you need when you're at the lowest points.

I think there should be more discussion about effects of breastfeeding such as the lack of sex drive and what that does to a relationship, the utter utter dependency on the mum in the case of babies that don't take the bottle or dummy, the hideous sleeplessness of it all (I know that is not exclusive to breastfeeding but at least bottle can be shared between carers). I have never felt lonelier in my life than in the middle of the night feeding dd with dh snoring oblivious next to me.

LuubyLuu Mon 27-May-13 09:14:04

I share your pain, and have been where you are now.

I'd like to add that appearances can be deceptive.

The lowest I've ever been was when my 6 month old baby stopped sleeping, waking every 45 mins during the night, then up for the day at 5am every single night for 12 months, and then didn't sleep through the night til he was 4. I had no family, and had recently moved, so no friends either.

I don't need much sleep, but thought I was going to collapse with exhaustion. In fact I wished I could collapse somewhere, so that at least I could lie in a hospital bed and just sleep. I did start to go crazy and lost all perspective on things, with anger and irritation never far from the surface, with my boys and husband bearing the brunt of this. I went from being bright and confident to a lonely shell of a person.

However, when I left the house, I always dressed well, tried to look stylish, and wore make-up including lipstick. The outward appearance in hindsight was a control thing - I had zero control of what was happening at home, but could control my appearance (apart from the bags under my eyes!). I probably came across as calm and confident, lightheartly laughing off the tiredness and how I felt, because to be honest if I didn't laugh I would have cried and cried and cried.

I think for me personally, whilst I felt 1000x better when my DS did eventually start sleeping a bit, my mental state only got back to normal when I went back to work.

I think it's a massive shock for a lot of women to go from a busy buzzy work environment, working with mixed ages and sexes, having control of your workload, using your intellect and years of training to then being at home, mainly interacting with women from the same age as you in M&B groups, with the drudgery of endless meal preparation and clearing up to do and not much chance to use your brain. You get no praise for a job well done as a SAHP, no ticked off To Do list setting out your achievements when you finish your day at 5.30, and you have no control of how your day will evolve as it will be completely driven by small people and their moods, their teething, their lack of sleep.

But for me it did get better, 6 years on I am often knackered, have little time for myself, but am completely myself mentally. I'm sure, without sounding at all dismissive, that things will get better for you, and that 'this too shall pass'.

GhostOfTheRobot Mon 27-May-13 09:17:31

I have never felt lonelier in my life than in the middle of the night feeding dd with dh snoring oblivious next to me
This is the worst part for me. Sleep used to be about recharging my batteries & getting a break from my worries but this is when they come out with a vengeance. I now make sure I have my smartphone when I go to bed so I can read Mumsnet to distract myself.
This thread in particular has been so moving & kept me in mind of the fact I'm not the only one up in the night stressing.
I have such I cycle of guilt about so many things (anger at dh "cushy" part in this child raising lark, how his life hasn't changed & mine is unrecognisable, begrudging his freedom, having to live with the constant fecking mess in the house that I never get sorted, shouting at the kids) I sometimes do feel that I could pack a bag and run away. I just feel so inadequate but this is my issue...cue more guilt.
Where does it end? How people work full time and do this I don't know, I really don't, but like a lot of these situations you simply have to as there's no one else.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 27-May-13 09:29:35

I've been thinking about this thread since I first posted last night.

There are so many low lying factors that annoy me at the moment, eg this morning, DH went in the shower and assumed that I would watch DD. Then I went in the shower, and he still assumed that I would watch DD. Cue DD trying to climb through the shower screen, nearly trapping her fingers - blah, blah, blah. All I wanted was 5 mins of peace, but no. It's tricky as DD is going through a clingy stage at the moment and sometimes just wants me - but sometimes I don't want to be wanted!!! Especially when DH gets in from work and I need a few mins to myself to regroup and she still wants me!!!

Sorry to moan - but another thing - why am I suddenly the responsible one when it comes to DD? Why am I the one responsible for where nappies are, if we've packed enough food for her, if her favourite teddy is in its rightful spot? Why do I have to remember friends' children's birthdays, sort family birthday presents and cards, remember injections, organise the Dr's and dentists' appointments? Since when did me giving birth simultaneously turn me into the family PA??

It is also massively upsetting when the one person you think you can rely on (dh) doesn't recognize what you need when you're at the lowest points


This is so true! DH and I generally have a good relationship, but why can't he see that no one can function on so little sleep?! There have been days when I've been ill, or up all night and barely able to function and I've begged him to take a day off work to help out. But no - I'll manage, apparently. And I agree, his job is important. But he can't seem to distinguish between the days when I'm tired in a normal sense, versus about to drop dead from freaking exhaustion. I'm only talking probably a maximum of three times in 18 months, but each incident has made me feel just that little bit less me and that little bit less respectful of him. It scares me that if I was at work, I could call in sick if I needed to. Now, I just have to keep on going - and going - and going.

Dozer Mon 27-May-13 09:30:06

IMO another problem that causes mental distress when DC arrive can be men who don't pull their weight with childcare and domestic work, who work all the time (when there're other options), have time-consuming hobbies, don't compromise their social lives and so on. I know several women with MH difficulties with partners like this, they are doing the lion's share of the hard work and have no time for themselves except late at night, which exacerbates sleep deprivation.

These friends, when struggling, berate themselves for "not coping" when (IMO) their situation is unequal and the problem is that their partners are not doing enough or supporting them sad.

I feel like you OP in that "everyone else" looks to be coping better, but suspect that feeling that way is a symptom of poor MH IYSWIM?

I can relate to so much of what was said on this thread. I was lucky enough to have great support and 2 sleepers but to say having DC exacerbated my anxiety is to understate.
I always worked part time and ended up having a total nervous breakdown trying to look as if it was all effortless hmm
Thankfully they grew up happy and healthy and since they turned 16 fairly self sufficient. I enjoy them now more than I ever did and am gutted that DD will be off in September.
My MH has improved accordingly and lie ins are a very regular feature of our lives grin

unapologetic Mon 27-May-13 09:36:24

I was thinking only this morning that I never felt anger or rage until I had children. I don't know where it comes from sometimes. Today it was simply the nagging for a certain kind of breakfast - why would that irritate me so much? I think it's the unrelentlessness of it all.

I find going to work really helps. Last week I didn't know how I was going to get there one day - my head was all over the place & I didn't think I could do it. At the end of the working day I felt normal again.

I have also been thinking about how it all affects us physically.

GhostOfTheRobot Mon 27-May-13 09:47:54

Oddly, as much as going back to work (and being in an adult environment) appeals I am absolutely terrified of doing it.
I just don't know why any one would employ me when I can't cope at home.

putyourhatonsweetie Mon 27-May-13 09:49:12

Thank you so much for starting this thread. Two children and an overseas move and I don't recognise myself any more.

I am permanently angry with dh, he says he loves me every day, but how can he when I am crying for help and he bimbles along regardless. he is extremely good with children and does his fair share, but I am screaming out for help and I feel like he is ignoring me.

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 09:50:22

Where are you, Put? Are you a trailing spouse?

Chubfuddler Mon 27-May-13 09:56:08

Oh I agree with dozer. My STBXH was emotionally and physically absent, worked long hours, all encompassing interests which kept him out if the house, big show family activities at his demand plastered over FB to maintain his "good dad" credentials.

Now we have split he has the children 2 nights a week, looks after then extremely well. It makes me sad and a bit hmm that he couldn't have pulled his weight before now, but being a single parent is less stressful than doing everything whilst doing the dance of the seven veils around the moods of a grumpy fuckwit.

putyourhatonsweetie Mon 27-May-13 09:56:59

salbertina mmm trailing spouse (though I do work) in central queensland

Doubtitsomehow Mon 27-May-13 09:57:27

I think what all these stories show are:

-Don't believe anyone who makes it look easy, it is not
-A lot of us are or have been closer to the edge, due to the strain of parenting very young children, than we usually admit
-Having young kids magnifies any issue in our own MH or in our own childhoods, to the point where our current MH can be negatively affected
-The media give totally false images of what parenting, especially the parenting of young kids, is like.

I wish we all felt more able to be honest in RL, and not be judged for it. mN is great as an outlet, but I would like to feel the same degree of mutual support among acquaintances (friends are usually fine).

Chubfuddler Mon 27-May-13 10:00:35

I have started employing MN levels of honesty in RL and the amazing thing is 99% of women, once they have picked their jaws up off the floor, join in.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 27-May-13 10:04:55

putyourhaton - I am also a trailing spouse right now and to be honest, sometimes find it hard to separate the issues. Do you find the same? We're here for DH's job, but his job/salary allows me to be a SAHM, which is what I (believed I) wanted. But being a SAHM can drive me mad at times and there's no chance of changing this for a good couple of years due to contracts, finances etc. At least if we'd been in the UK, I could have gone back to my old employer part time or had the capacity to change things somehow. It's like I'm doubly trapped!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 27-May-13 10:08:33

And then, as I mentioned above, the guilt kicks in. Everyone tells me I'm lucky not to have to work - but I'm envious, in fact jealous, of DH going off to his nice office to have coffees made for him and being able to wear suits without jam stains and having time to think on his commute and finish a sentence without the next demand. I used to be like that too!!!

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 10:09:02

Wibbly, am trailing too! Should feel grateful etc but also feel v trapped..

curryeater Mon 27-May-13 10:13:46

Wibblypig, YYYYY.

I love this site in some ways, but I think there is a weird gap in acknowledgement of the differing roles of men and women and the shittiness of the standard set up for women. There are many, many men who are not absusive, but who are not fair either, in fact I would say the majority. That is my opinion. When I express this on mn I either hear from mainstream (non feminist) women "well he's been at work all day, would you upset a relationship over a few pots" or from feminists (I count myself a feminist btw) "Normal men are not like this, relationships don't have to be like this, a man who is like this is abusive and you must ltb".

I screeched at dp once when he was pulling me up on being ratty and snappy about stuff that needed to be done "would you stand on a river bank berating a drowning person about their tone while they scream for you to throw the life ring? Would you watch them drown while you tell them they aren't speaking to you very nicely?" I don't know if he got it or not.

he broke up with me (for a couple of hours) because I was snappy with him on the worst "holiday" of my life and I was relieved. I was flooded with bliss. He stormed off with dd1 (10 months) and made plans for our separation in his self righteous injured head while I finished his pint and then strolled through the village alone, not having any idea whether I was single or what, not giving a shit, just blissed out at walking at my own pace, carrying very little, and looking in the shop windows I wanted to. When we met again at the cottage he said he was leaving me because I was horrible, and I said good because he would have dd1 some of the time without me running around smeared in milk and cream cheese and I was sure we could work out something amicable and I just wanted to go to bed and sleep. Somehow we stayed together.

On another camping "holiday" I was driving and had stuffed children's bedding between their two car seats and dp passed a sippy cup of water to the little one. "Get that cup back, or she will pour water all over the bedding" I said. We got there and I found he hadn't bothered, there she was holding an empty cup next to a pile of soggy bedding. I went absolutely postal. It was just the end for me. I realised how desperately alone and unsupported I was that I had to do EVERYTHING and when I couldn't physically do the thing - because I was driving - it just wouldn't get done and now I was going to have to find a way to dry the bedding before bed time. The thing that really did my head in about it was the casual way he ignored what I had said. He didn't argue or explain. he just thought "well she said that but it's easier for me to not bother so I won't". The way he just put himself above me just blew my mind. Realising that living with everybody's well being above mine, including the convenience of waitresses (yes another rant there) was just wearing me absolutely out.

I do not think my dp is an unusual almighty shit and actually is a lot nicer than any of my friend's husbands. But he just doesn't get it.

Emboldened by this thread I have started telling dd1 that we do not talk in "children's centre" voices at home. "Those voices are for people who have to control a lot of children in a large space. We don't need to talk like that at home."

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 27-May-13 10:15:09

Salbertina - I'm sorry you're in this position too! Do you find everyone thinks it sounds exciting and glamorous, when really you're just doing the same as you would have at home, except that everything's just that little bit harder as the systems aren't familiar?

And as time goes on, DH gets busier and busier with work, and I (unfairly) resent him more and more (in my head at least). His argument would be that he has to perform at his absolute best at work as that's why we're here, and I recognise there's a lot of pressure on him in terms of the move having been worthwhile. But, I do wonder how our lives would have been different if we'd stayed in the UK. Not just in terms of careers etc for both of us, but in terms of the opportunities there would have been for me, meaning that maybe (some days at least) I would have felt less like I was falling apart.

GhostOfTheRobot Mon 27-May-13 10:15:45

I have often fantasised about a drop-in, parent support group on a par with 'AA' or something where you could tell your troubles & be supported with professional advice. An unrushed, therapeutic session.

curryeater Mon 27-May-13 10:16:50

Wibbly, I meant your 9.29 post when I said YY - I am not "trailing" and I think that sounds very, very hard.

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 10:17:08

Wibbly, absolutely! (See my thread re MIL telling me about my "blissful life")!

curryeater Mon 27-May-13 10:20:22

I also think that while there is definitely such a thing as PND which should be treated with ADs, we are medicalising being exhausted and pissed off in many cases. Why can't we give society a kick up the arse, instead of individualising and internalising inability to tolerate the intolerable, and drugging it instead, with uncomfortable side effects and withdrawal problems.

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 10:25:27

Curry, hear, hear! Absolutely! Sadly, society/families have often tended to take convenient option of scapegoating a struggling individual/certain nonconformist type of individual (think "village idiot" historically) rather than reflect and consider how best to help. Our grandmothers were drugged up to the eyeballs with tranquilisers, our generation? Prozac, citalopram or 6 week quick fix CBT if you're really lucky, then STFU!
bitter and twisted, moi?!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 27-May-13 10:27:44

Curryeater - I'm so with you! And perhaps the hardest thing of all is that DH is one of the most intelligent people I know, Oxbridge educated etc, but he appears to have no sense that his career right now is facilitated by me being the one who ensures his suit is cleaned, DD is cared for, finances are straight (in terms of budgeting, bills paid on time etc), I can be up with DD at the crack of dawn when he has early meetings, or in in an evening when he has to stay late - absolutely every other aspect of his life has me as back up, so to speak. But where's my back up?

We actually flew to the UK on holiday last week and he almost missed the taxi we had booked to the airport as he got delayed at work. He'd told me he'd be home a couple of hours early, so I could get the house straight, finalise packing, do last minute jobs without DD clinging to me (and I'm PG too so couldn't be lugging heavy suitcases downstairs). And I think it's fair to say that I've organised pretty much this whole trip, flights, hotels, vacation rentals, catch ups with friends and family. Anyway, I went mental. In fact, I was more annoyed than I think I've ever been with him. It's the sheer audacity of it - he can waltz back in at the final hour and he knows, he bloody knows, that I'll have sorted things as I always do. But I couldn't have just nipped out for a last minute coffee or a bit of time for myself. I was stuck in the house, waiting for him, wondering when he'd deign to turn up. He had the choice and mine seems to have been permanent removed.

partystress Mon 27-May-13 10:42:58

In good and bad ways. Bad: got awful PND after DC2 (but, with ADs got over it, and long term would say it increased my empathy and has made me more aware of what loads of other people deal with.)

Good: while I totally identify with all the posts about anxiety about your DCs' safety, for me a huge bonus of becoming a mother was that I got rid of a ton of personal anxiety. Was close to housebound at points in my 20s and 30s with agoraphobia. Had worked hard and improved before DC1 was born, but giving birth triggered another big step towards almost-normal.

But whatever personal stories we all have, the truth remains that society does not make things easy for parents. A lot of post-natal mental health problems are, I think, a perfectly natural response to the crap that comes your way once you have a baby.

putyourhatonsweetie Mon 27-May-13 11:05:55

Wibbly yes I do think it is very relevant and the things get conflated. DH is a good man. He really is. But we used to be very equal and now we live in his place and his career is flying (I now have a job not a career),

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 11:06:10

Wow trailing mums - I admit I've been one of those people envious thinking how easy you had it, ie husband with great corporate job, financed move overseas, sun, new carefree sahm friends in the sunshine, nothing to worry about, maids (well my trailing mum friends in Singapore have maids!) - had got this quite wrong. Sorry.

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 11:08:26

Curry eater that water story is so apt. There are so many small things I do and notice that if I didn't we'd end up with a soggy blankets equivalent situation. This all facilitates DH in his life etc and he has no idea.
He leaves early in the morning every day often he has 'breakfast meetings'. It just makes me laugh (or cry). If I had a breakfast meeting I'd just have to cancel it. But he can do endless because I do all the school runs, packing school bags etc.

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 11:10:44

Was just horrified to look at the clock and discover it'd only 11am. I honestly thought it was 2pm!

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 11:10:53

Mac- well it IS often funny, but am not allowed own bank account, am trying to finish off a masters but my career seems so distant over that i can hardly be bothered to study switch off iplayer Not funded to come here either, our little adventure cost us thousands over the years. Still, got it out of our systems now!

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 11:11:40

Funny? Rarely, sunny? Often smile

thebestpossibletaste Mon 27-May-13 11:12:17

Agree with so much here. What a great thread.

My youngest is now 12 and life gets easier but not sure I'll ever shake the anxiety, lying awake, going through what needs to be done in a normal day, like shopping, cleaning, packed lunches, checking homework, making doctor/dentist appointments, planning meals, washing, etc etc. It never ends. My dh will do anything I ask him to do but he's just another thing I have to organise because he can't think for himself. Agree with the person who said above, who made me the family pa?! And if I go out very occasionally he sits in front of the tv with dd, feeds her mcd muck and leaves everything in a tip!

I am self employed working from home and have recently also gone back to work part time but am really struggling to get everything done. Now have a cleaner once a fortnight for a couple of hours which I can't really afford but it's for my sanity! At least when I'm at work I feel a bit like a person again and not just a mum. But I don't know who I am anymore. I have no hobbies, interests. I have no energy for them.

MrsRambo Mon 27-May-13 11:12:29

What you are all saying really speaks volumes to me at the moment. If I was to try and self diagnose by mental state it would be a mixture of:

-Physical and mental exhaustion (not ‘just’ sleep deprivation) – check

-Emotional/mental isolation – check (I am physically surrounded by lots of friends, family etc but can only speak to one friend of how I truly feel)

-Anxiety – check (I work PT and feel like I am doing 2 jobs badly. Constantly)

-Extreme anger – check (it is a constant undercurrent. I am angry with DP, angry at work for being treated so differently since having DC etc)

-Extreme disappointment /Hopelessness - check (this comes and goes and is not constant. It’s not to do with DC directly but more a coming to terms with what is achievable post DC)

And yet, I am pretty sure I am not ‘depressed’ in the clinical sense. I have been depressed in the past, as a young adult, pre- DC. I had 2 years of therapy sorting out a lot of issues from my childhood. How I feel now is very different. I can’t put my finger on it. I have to say I didn't really ‘get’ feminism until I had DC. It’s like you leave a world where anything is possible and most things are under your control, you are respected for your achievements etc and your hopes and aspirations seem within your reach (to a certain degree). And then BANG. You have a child and because of the way society is structured it whips all that away from you. In a way it’s not to do with DC directly (if this makes sense). They are generally a great source of joy. But as I read somewhere once ... “they turn everything else that you enjoyed to shit”.

I really relate with the posters up thread who mentioned about cooking meals for DH/DC on the days that they do ‘childcare’. My DD (2yr) is looked after by DP one day a week. He finds it incredibly hard and stressful and I too make sure that everything is as easy as possible for him. Why? Because the fall out is too much for me. “ Just let him get on with it” – I hear you all cry. I know this is what I should do but something in me can’t cope with thinking about DD being affected by a stressed DP or having to come home to tales of woe and stress.... And yet, DP is very willing and wants to be supportive? I feel like I am asking too much of him sometimes...

The things is, if you went into a business partnership with someone you wouldn't be cooking and freezing meals for them on the days you weren't in the office or had taken annual leave would you? You wouldn't let them get away with doing ‘less’ than you because they find the job stressful. People would think you were barmy. That you had selected an unsuitable business partner.... When I think of this analogy it makes me shudder....

I don’t know that there are any answers to all of this. We all seem to just muddle on don’t we, hoping for the best.

I am starting to witter now so will stop. But my heart goes out to you all. You are not alone. There are many of us who feel this way.

putyourhatonsweetie Mon 27-May-13 11:20:42

Goodness, this all rings so true, if we weren't all so far away we should go out for gin. He does do his fair share, but like many of you I organise that!

In terms of trailing, well it is sunny. It's beautiful. But there is NOTHING to do. We have beautiful beaches, but when you walk on them you are still in your own head. And it is so perfect that we have those beaches to ourselves, so not even anyone to stare at!

Likewise it has cost us thousands.....

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 11:28:38

This is so true about him doing his fair share but being organised by us. I think thats why I get so annoyed with DH! Even though he helps loads. It's all under instruction/organised by me. Ie today he'll feel all pleased because he's building DDs cot. But I'll feel cross because he's building it after it's spent over a week in it's box by the front door and it was one of the things I pointed out hadnt been done during row yesterday. So he's hardly taking the initiative to build it himself. Plus i was the one who spotted Dd is too big for her crib so measured the room found the cot ordered it etc.

You all get the picture I'm sure.....!

Pfaffer Mon 27-May-13 11:31:13

bimbling along
men who are not fair but not abusive either
just clueless and bred for domestic cognitive laziness
This thread is perfect really.

I have at times been as honest in RL as I have been on MN and there is definitely a feeling of 'whoa there sister, pull yourself together' from some other women. Then give them two glasses of wine.....barring the women who have got free, frequent, and graciously given childcare from family (who are basically not allowed to comment in my book) we are all pretty much in this together IMO.

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 11:31:49

Put your hat on - reminds me of when I went travelling to NZ with my ex. Relationship wasn't great and I was desperately homesick.

A friend came to visit and we went for a hike and he said look at this view. I burst into tears and said ' if anyone mentions another Fu**ing view I'll punch them.' (people talked a lot about the views in NZ).

Looking back the views were great but I was still in my own head. I'd given up my job to go to NZ and wasn't getting on with ex. Its a slightly different situation to post kids but has simialarities about still being the same person with same thoughts and feelings even if you do live overseas (with a maid!)

putyourhatonsweetie Mon 27-May-13 11:36:08

Macmac ...yep the views, the fucking views. What's the point with no one to share them with?

No maid here. But wondering if a cleaner (can't afford one....but can't afford this level of unhappiness either) might make a difference.

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 11:39:18

Well back here in London (without a view) I have recently upped our clear to twice a week. It seems an extravagance but i did it for my mental health (that was the actual reason I told DH!!). It has helped. So if you don't have a cleaner I'd definitely recommend.

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 11:40:17

I mean cleaner, not clear!

Oblomov Mon 27-May-13 11:42:15

Dh has atleast once described me as "Mrs Angry". I was never angry per children.so why the anger now?
I was never as lonely either.
In between my batch cooking of curry/chilli/lasagne, I do all school runs, all parents evenings, home works etc.
I take ds1 to cubs etc, arrange all play dates etc. form filling out for 2 pre-schools, one after school club and holiday club. paying chqs for all these.
In between trying to work part time and do 4 loads of washing.
And my Dh is fab and does pull his weight to some extent. But I still prop him up because washing,school bags/dinner is already done.
I associate a lot of what has been said on this thread.
I see no real ANSWERS though. I suspect there are none. How depressing.

I actually get really pissed off with people trying to tell me I am depressed. I am clearly not. I have been assessed by gp, consultant, and pyschiatrist, and they all said no. But I think it's easier to label us all so varying degrees of depression, rather than assessing what the real core problem is, that we have all agreed on.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 27-May-13 11:45:20

I think there are many kinds of expat jobs, and some do have the great relocation packages, school fees, healthcare etc that come with them.

However, like others here have mentioned, they're not all like that! My DH effectively had a US job, so we're just like anyone else - pay for our own rent, bills, flights home to visit etc. This move is definitely good for his career long term, so in turn good for our family's future long term. It's just not so good for mine!

I think a lot of the images people have of expats are based on historical analogies - but it's not the same any more. I have friends who are British embassy wives and they have to have smear tests on their visits home to the UK due to cost cutting!

MrsRambo - you are spot on.

MiniTheMinx Mon 27-May-13 11:49:43

Pfaffer, have experienced much the same reaction if I have attempted to be honest in RL. Before I had DC and soon after many of the women around me were older and not one of them told me how my life would change and not always for the better.

I wonder if we will look back on this time with rose tinted specs or whether we will be honest with the next generation. Perhaps if more women were honest then the child free option would seem more rational.

HandbagCrab Mon 27-May-13 12:01:49

I agree with the analogy that it's like a bomb going off. I feel since having ds I've discovered who my real supporters are (some friends old and new, dh) and who my drains are (family, some old friends, work). I'm lucky in that dhs career has gone on the up since becoming a daddy and I have been able to go part time. When I explained to him about the anxiety I feel about keeping on top of the washing/ washing up he got it and now puts washing on and sorts the dishwasher unprompted.

I've absorbed lots of feminist messages from here and I try not to take on all the responsibility for wife work for dhs family, friends, work colleagues etc. I'm ill in bed today so dh is in charge and I'm trying not to feel responsible for what ds does/ eats/ watches as I can't get better and also manage what dh is doing too. I think in some ways I've valued myself more now I'm a mum than before. Before I always put other people before myself and I'm really aware I can't do that anymore as I need my energy for ds and for myself so I don't go under. I grab lie ins with both hands and anyone that offers to help is roped in immediately. I am very angry though about certain things to do with becoming a mum, such as work, but I'm trying to mentally distance myself from it so I don't feel it as much. The lack of proper sleep is the killer as ds rarely sleeps through. Things have been better lately though, so fingers crossed!

peteypiranha Mon 27-May-13 12:09:51

Cant say it has no, but most of these seem to be from people with useless dhs. Dh does the same amount as me I can sleep, go out wherever I want and do what I want as before, obviously not as much but still at least on a weekly basis.

meglet Mon 27-May-13 12:10:29

Yes. I'm trying to hold it together until my youngest starts school in Sept. I've had one night off in 4yrs (single parent) and work 3 days a week. My nerves are shot to pieces at the moment, I think I'm only keeping my head above water because I can get to the gym a couple of times a week.

My GP has refused me counselling twice but if things don't improve come the Autumn I'm going to kick up a fuss and refuse to budge until they refer me. I've internalised too much and need someone to talk to. My menopause is also kicking in so heaven knows what state I'll be in at this rate.

It's so hard going.

IrnBruTheNoo Mon 27-May-13 12:11:56

"I actually get really pissed off with people trying to tell me I am depressed. I am clearly not."

Oblomov I get this as well. I am not affected by depression, and I get fed up hearing about how I 'must' be depressed. I love life, it's just ashame I've got all this usual crap to do day in day out. I need a 'bloody good rest' as my Mum likes to put it!

peteypiranha Mon 27-May-13 12:13:29

Is there any reasons why your dhs cant do more? That would be the key to being more relaxed.

mercury7 Mon 27-May-13 12:13:34

Mini I'm honest with my daughter (she's mid 20's) about how hard it is being a parent, tbh I dont think she really needs me to tell her, she can see she's better off investing in a career and earning her own money

IrnBruTheNoo Mon 27-May-13 12:18:21

I swim twice a week, doing regular exercise was recommended by the GP on my previous visit. He is probably sick of the sight of me by now!

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Mon 27-May-13 12:23:18

peteypiranha, my DH does do his share. I agree life would be infinitely worse if he didn't. But the sleep deprivation doesn't magically stop being a problem because I've got someone to share it, it's just not as bad as it would be if I were coping alone.

I'm also still working FT, so I don't have the loss of identity that a lot of people on this thread have - I really couldn't do being a SAHP (or even PT: I'm struggling with a long weekend, to be honest).

My problem is that I'm simply not mentally equipped to deal with the consequences of sleep deprivation, or the monotony and relentlessness of looking after a small child. I'm hanging on in there because I don't want to give DS the long-term issues that would arise from being abandoned by his mother, and also because if I feel I can't cope with half the load I can't possibly abandon DH to carry all of it.

So glad to find this thread,thank you all so much.

I love my children and don't regret them. But if I had really known how hard it was (for me) I would never have had any.

The responsibility, the bloody mess, the noise, the repeating things ten times, the arguments, everything is a bloody battle.

I have an excellent DH and DC's that sleep well. But I just want to be somewhere else.

I feel trapped a lot of the time as I stupidly didn't learn to drive before I had children, now I can't afford the lessons. <sigh>

IrnBruTheNoo Mon 27-May-13 12:28:59

DH does do his share, but I still find it hard. He does 12 hr shifts (nights and days). Cue lots of arguments, it comes to a head every six months or so...I feel I either have loads of support for 4 or 5 days straight and then suddenly no support at all for 2 days and 2 nights straight (because of the shift work). I don't have the energy to hold down a job, only just get by raising the DC, and even the cracks are showing these days. Like others, I just try my best and leave what housework is not a necessity.

IrnBruTheNoo Mon 27-May-13 12:30:00

"I love my children and don't regret them. But if I had really known how hard it was (for me) I would never have had any."

Oh goodness, someone has expressed on a forum what I was thinking internally today....I feel just the same as you do springtime.

<high five> irnbru

I could never ever say that out loud, do its nice to be able to get it out on here.

My friends see me as the lucky one, the SAHM with a nice DH and two lovely kids.

I see myself as the one bored out of her mind, trying to figure out how the hell I can arrange it that I can go back to college next year and earn myself some bloody money and get out of this house.

Saski Mon 27-May-13 12:41:23

Really feeling for all of you on this thread who are not coping very well.

Life will improve SO MUCH when your kids are a bit older.

MiniTheMinx Mon 27-May-13 12:43:32

mercury7, good for her (your daughter) I wonder also though did other generations feel the way we do. Is it a case of rose tinted specs or maybe it was something else.

My mother's generation (now late 60s) enjoyed being SHAM. Is it because pre-dc they worked at a job rather than a career and viewed working as a temporary stop gap. I think now we have higher expectations, more pressure, lower wages (two wages needed rather than one) and motherhood is seen as a bolt on lifestyle choice rather than for what it really is. Although given a choice in retrospect I might have chosen career over children but I knew I couldn't have both.

IrnBruTheNoo shift work is a killer. DP did shift work for several years. I was either tripping over him for days on end or wishing him home because I spent days on my own with DCs.

clearsommespace Mon 27-May-13 12:46:11

What a fascinating thread!

I feel more anxious about little stuff. I find it hard to cope with plans changing at the last minute. But I am stronger about big stuff. If you know someone is dying and you have to share it with your children, you make yourself strong to protect your children.

The other day I realised I prefer being at home, not going anywhere. My idea of a good break is a hotel or B+B about an hour away regardless of the rubbish weather rather than the stress of travelling to a location with better weather and scenery.

I think it might be to do with getting older (40 last year) but maybe it's because the rest of life is so busy as a mother. I seem to spend most of my non-professional week time driving/hanging around the music school or arts centre/overseeing homework! I used to jump at occasions to go out, even with little kids who would get me up at 5 am, I'd still want the night out. Now my kids are quiet in their rooms until 8ish on weekends and I could sleep until then but I'd rather get up and enjoy the quiet house after having an early Friday night with a good book.

clearsommespace Mon 27-May-13 12:49:06

I meant to add, sometimes going out seems stressful which it never did in the past.

IrnBruTheNoo Mon 27-May-13 12:58:43

Am sure it does get easier as they get older, but that's not really helping when you're in the thick of it.

I've been thinking about this thread all day and am sure it helped me have a much more relaxed morning than I would have done normally. Just knowing so many felt the same way made me feel much less "in my head" and on edge. Maybe you're on to something ghost with your AA style support groups.

I wonder if labour /small babies flick a switch and anxiety kicks in? Babies of mothers on high alert must have benefited in a time of disease, predators etc so perhaps we've evolved to be post natally anxious to protect our vulnerable off spring. . I see potential dangers in the most unlikely places and imagine gruesome scenarios. A truck can pass my car and I feel sure it's going to hit my car. I wonder if my maternal instinct to protect is just in over drive.

It also means I'm on edge so any kind of tantrum, bickering, delay etc is meant with me over reacting. I must sound deranged. But yesterday PMT mixed with a day alone with a toddler and 5 month old had me in floods of tears because I couldn't get DD to have a wee before we went to the park.

Anyway, as I said today was good. I was relaxed, thinking about you wise women on MN and felt inexplicably better.

curryeater Mon 27-May-13 14:41:38

It's not just wanting more help from dps. It's the boredom; the sense that anything that might nourish you (a beautiful view, a castle, a sunset, music, your friends) is either physically inaccessible to you, or effectively insulated from you by whining and other people's shit to the extent that you get nothing and are still starving. Everything is ashes. Everything is the sort of grubby messy guddly bunfight that exhausts you. But the alternative is to stay at home and go mad. Which is worse? Who knows. You alternate and hang on.

raggedymum Mon 27-May-13 15:26:52

This is a very interesting thread, thanks. I'm not sure if I've seen this one yet, and I wonder if anyone relates: I work FT, and since DD (13mo) I've really felt not as competent at work as I used to be. I have a fear that at some point it will all come crashing down and people will realise that I stopped being the person I used to be, and that having a baby has made me less "good" at stuff. I know that there is something called Imposter Syndrome, which I had known about but never thought I had before, and I suspect some of it is this. But I know I'm really not doing nearly as much as I used to (how could I? I used to spend 11 hours a day in the office, and I now try to fit in in the same 11 hours all of: working at home while baby sleeps+baby morning+commuting-work-commuting), and I worry that my reduced productively will be noticed -- and then, that it will be blamed (rightly) on having DD, and then I will doing all of womanhood a disservice by not pulling my weight at work and having it due to being a mother.

Wow, I'm not sure I realised quite how, um... ambitious? arrogant (seriously, letting down womanhood?)?... my worries were until I just typed that! But I guess what I'm saying is that since DD I now feel that any failure I have at work will be blamed on that fact that I'm a mother, whereas before it was just me not being good enough. And I also feel that I'm not as good as I was before, so it would be true.

financialnightmare Mon 27-May-13 16:36:36

This thread has made me feel much better because sometimes I feel like a total sociopath.

I don't feel as though my children are the 'love of my life' and 'wonderful' - I also just want real life to go away so I can sleep or read a book and listen to the silence.

I also had a PFB and then Number Two hit me like a wall of screaming, angry, furious fucking bricks. She's a little storm of rage, rampaging through my life and telling me everything that's wrong with me - everything I already acknowledge to myself a hundred times a day.

When XH and I separated, the first thing I thought was 'OMG I am going to be able to sleep through the night 3 nights a week!' And I do - after ten years of not doing so. It's silent and blissful. Definitely the upside to divorce that no one seems to celebrate...

But of course, the children are quite old now and I have no earning capacity. Women are sold a crock of shit about the whole parenthood thing. It's exhausting, boring and relentless as far as I am concerned.

financialnightmare Mon 27-May-13 16:38:25

"It's the boredom; the sense that anything that might nourish you (a beautiful view, a castle, a sunset, music, your friends) is either physically inaccessible to you, or effectively insulated from you by whining and other people's shit to the extent that you get nothing and are still starving."

Definitely. Sometimes I find myself comfort eating just because it's literally the only thing I've done for myself all day.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Mon 27-May-13 16:47:51

Interesting point, raggedymum. I changed jobs just after coming back from maternity leave and was very careful not to let anyone in the new job know I had a small child (very small at the time - he was 10 months when I was interviewed and 14 months when I started), because I didn't want people to write me off before I'd started. I work in a very male, conservative organisation and there's no scope for flexibility, so I'm not dealing with the sort of arrangements you describe.

I'm certainly very conscious that if I screw up it's going to damage other women's prospects, but I don't feel less professionally competent than I used to. However, the only condition I put on DH about having a baby was that it couldn't be allowed to affect my career, which does after all pay the mortgage, so although I'm shattered I can still do the 11-hour days when I need to. I think that makes a massive difference.

I do see friends really struggling with reduced hours and pay but no reduction at all in their workload, but in most cases that's not that they've got any less competent (in fact most of them say they've got much more efficient because of the constraints on their time), it's because they're being badly managed. I strongly suspect that may be true of you too.

mercury7 Mon 27-May-13 16:49:53

mine are in their 20's, I'm lucky they have both left home, when the last one went it was like being released from prison, and walking unfettered into a park on a summers day

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 16:57:19

Really, Mercury? How do you all get on now?

mercury7 Mon 27-May-13 17:00:58

We get on just fine

financialnightmare Mon 27-May-13 17:04:08

Mercury: smile

Sometimes I wonder whether it's not just the sleep deprivation but it's also the BOREDOM that makes me want to lie down and sleep forever...

mercury7 Mon 27-May-13 17:19:30

It all seems like a different lifetime now and I may have blocked out whole stretchesgrin
pretty sure I didnt have an unbroken nights sleep for about 7 years, but I did generally manage to get enough sleep, I dont even really remember being bored, I sort of downregulated and I remember that I liked kids TV and lego.
For me it was the lack of time to myself, having to be available to them all the time, I'm a very solitary person and I found the constant company of children just very very wearing, the whole time I was with them I had an anxious sick feeling in my solar plexus.
The constant bickering was also very stressful.

I did not enjoy being a parent, I did not find it in any way fulfilling

I think I generally provide an appropriate level of parental support now, but I try and stay in the background.

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 17:28:43

Really sorry to hear that, Mercury but thats often my take on it thus far. Just wondering if/how it affects adult dc or if theres a sneaky way for them not to notice?!
My dm was/is v difficult, v unfulfilled, v damaged/damaging and i DREAD affecting my adult dc as much as she has me.

financialnightmare Mon 27-May-13 17:34:10

I don't think I would have minded if my mother had been honest with me (if she had felt like I did). Personally I think it is a lack of honesty that may be more damaging...

mercury7 Mon 27-May-13 17:36:31

Salbertina, my mother was also very difficult, and probably even more unsuited to being a parent than I am.
My kids seem ok, I'm ok...I dont know what else to say!

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 17:39:56

Thats enough, v reassuring! So fear I'm rearing future fuck-ups due to my lack of childcentredness, impatience and occasional lashing out. Not a very good parent.

thebestpossibletaste Mon 27-May-13 17:54:32

Peteypiranha, it doesn't seem to be about what our dhs do but the fact we as mum are responsible for everything and that most dhs need to be told what to do and how to do it. So we can't cross it off our to do list as we still need to assist. Eg, if my dh goes shopping, he will nearly always call me to ask what to get, even though he has a shopping list, because he doesn't know what size/brand/flavour to get if my suggestion is out of stock. Yet I have to know, I don't call him if I'm in the same situation!

Agree re boredom and needing time alone. I got so fed up of the games and books my dd wanted to share with me. Even though my dd is at school, my dh works from home for now so I am NEVER alone! I just want to take my dog and kindle and go somewhere on the coast for a long weekend! But I do love my children to bits.

financialnightmare Mon 27-May-13 18:00:48

Maybe it's worth for 'introverts' who like their own company. It's something I really miss a lot. I've got lots of friends etc but I don't think of myself as 'needing' people or being sociable. I'm happy on my own, and I enjoy silence.

mercury7 Mon 27-May-13 18:07:17

very possibly Financial!

I literally could have written the OP word for word.

I also have 2, and my DD is at school, and I also have that dread at school pick up that the bickering, whining and fighting will start. And it always, always does. It is so bloody draining.

I also cried to my kids a few weeks ago because I couldn't bear their constant bickering/ screeching/ crying any longer.

I would love to look forward to the weekends too, but don't. I also find relief in part-time work.

OP - are you me???

I can only think that things get better. Please let this be true.

I don't think I have depression as such. I just struggle to cope with it all - and who wouldn't?

margarethamilton Mon 27-May-13 18:45:02

Sometimes I find myself comfort eating just because it's literally the only thing I've done for myself all day.

YY. I wondered where this was coming from for me. I have eaten very healthily previously (some food issues in teens). But comfort eating has reared its head again. I see it now. The lack of nourishment elsewhere.

peteypiranha Mon 27-May-13 18:49:23

Thebestpossibletaste - Are you quite picky? Why cant your dh get any brand he wants. I think some women make it harder for themselves.

siblingrivalry Mon 27-May-13 19:07:56

This thread has really resonated with me -thank you for starting it OP.

I feel that someone has finally said what I have been (guiltily) thinking for a long time now; and I had no idea others felt this way too- i thought that there was something wrong with me.

DD1 has SN and I know that it all adds to the feelings over exhaustion and being overwhelmed - yet the 'small' thing bug me too: talking to me when I'm trying to clean my teeth, arguing over whose turn it is to choose the TV programme, the daily stress of organising school and activities....

I regularly fantasise about going away on my own, to a remote cottage, and just being -it's been so long since I felt like the old me.

Occasionally, the dc sleep over at the PIL's and DH always says that it's too quiet and he misses them. Which leaves me feeling like crap, because I don't really miss them-I'm just relishing the time alone.

The bomb analogy that was used near the beginning of this thread really sums it up for me- I feel pretty bomb-damaged much of the time!

To all of those with really young dc -it does get a bit better as they get older and the need for constant physical attention does reduce.

thebestpossibletaste Mon 27-May-13 19:29:58

Petey, no, I'm not picky. He just can't think for himself, needs detailed info!

FunLovinBunster Mon 27-May-13 19:31:34

Hello OP, and thank you for being honest enough to share how you feel.
TBH I think a lot of mothers lie. You know the ones, the earth mothers who think all children especially hers are wonderful... The ones who speak permanently in a bright voice...doing this for more than one sentence makes me feel ill...
I love my DD, I really do. But there are times that quite frankly I am so frustrated by her not listening or doing as she is told that I get so angry I feel murderous...
My mothering experiences are badly tainted by DD being a really poor breast feeder and eater. She is a lot better now, but for the first three years or so I became v unhappy and it affected my feelings towards her.
I think that if one has MH issues, be it depression, anxiety, OCD whatever,then it is heightened and exacerbated by motherhood.
One of the hardest things to deal with as a mum is the fact that it is relentless, one feels constant anxiety about the child's health and welfare. And unlike anything else in life, you CANNOT get away from your child or switch your mind off completely about them.
I wish more mums told the truth. And I wish our mums had told us the truth about motherhood too.

thebestpossibletaste Mon 27-May-13 19:32:58

I should add, he can buy whichever brand he likes but the less information I give him, the more he struggles, it seems. So now I write the brand, the size, the amount in the hope he won't need to ask anything. But most of the time I go myself.

IrnBruTheNoo Mon 27-May-13 19:34:48

"Eg, if my dh goes shopping, he will nearly always call me to ask what to get, even though he has a shopping list, because he doesn't know what size/brand/flavour to get if my suggestion is out of stock."

Ditto. It does my head in. It exasperates me.

FunLovinBunster Mon 27-May-13 19:35:41

thebestpossible....I find that if you want something doing do it yourself.
YY to having to make detailed notes for men who helpfully offer to do the shopping.
Invariably they come home with the wrong stuff. Or food that doesn't go together on a reasonable persons plate....

IrnBruTheNoo Mon 27-May-13 19:41:31

My own mother has been honest in the past. Before I had DC, she revealed something to me that struck a chord. It did upset me at the time. She said 'if I could do it all over again, I wouldn't have had a family'. What she meant was that it is highly stressful and she sometimes could not cope with DB and myself at times. Takes a lot of courage to admit that. Only now, having two DC myself, do I appreciate what she said to me all those years ago...I feel just the same.

peteypiranha Mon 27-May-13 19:44:27

Just dont answer your phone. If he brings the wrong thing just eat that. Dont sweat the small stuff is the key. Dh does everything himself as he just gets on with it as he knows if he rang me I would say Im not bothered get whatever.

IrnBruTheNoo Mon 27-May-13 19:48:01

"Dont sweat the small stuff"

Are you crazy? That's my middle name! I get in a tiswas about anything.

FunLovinBunster Mon 27-May-13 19:55:41

Me too irnbru.
Is anyone else here on a constant state of alert??
And finds that being so is THE most exhausting thing?
Oh, the guilt.
The self doubt. Am I doing this (parenting) the right way? What if I'm not? My child could die if I'm not doing it right etc etc.
The loneliness.
The fear.
The frustration.
The anger. I don't think I've ever been so angry.
My poor DD.

feralgirl Mon 27-May-13 19:55:47

Yes yes to all of this thread. I am so very glad I am the breadwinner as I couldn't cope being at home with the DCs the way DH is. I went totally bonkers when I was on mat leave both times, PND yes, but also the bloody grind of it all.

I love the very bones of my children but The Fear about all the terrible things that could happen to them paralyses me sometimes. And after weekends - when I look after them on my own and DH works - I am 100% ready to get back to school on Monday morning and spend time teaching other people's kids.

I have constant nagging guilt about the fact that I don't deal terribly well with my DCs when I am outnumbered and I really really worry that my short temper is having a terribly negative impact on them sad

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 19:56:26

Best possible - SO TRUE about the shopping!! confused
(and the assisting in general!)

thebestpossibletaste Mon 27-May-13 19:58:39

I have tried that. He then just rings alternatively my mobile and the home phone until I pick up. Don't swear the small stuff? But that for me is part of the problem. It's all small stuff, isn't it, and yet I am stressing about everything. Some days are ok, others worse. I just want to turn it off and not be do stressed and anxious but don't know how. Someone telling me not to be stressed unfortunately doesn't solve the problem.

Shakey1500 Mon 27-May-13 20:01:04

Thing is (and I mean no disrespect to men) it's intrinsic isn't it? This relentless wheel of motherhood. It reaches us (mothers) first and bloody stays there.

We hear, recognise, react, overreact, soothe, fume, mend, prepare, pre-empt, collect, smother, fume, cry, despair, chase, catch, pat, brush, dress, change, feed, wipe, cuddle FIRST.

We do it. 99% of the time. We know we'll do it because it's an automatic reaction. And the male species knows we will. Therefore can happily hold back. With no urgency. Because we're there.

The first family holiday we went on was truly truly awful (for me). DS was 10 months old. Despite other family members there I had ZERO "help" and did fucking everything. Whilst everyone else lazed around, reading, chilling.

I hardly started never mind finished an evening meal. Not once did someone say "Here, I'll sit next to him and feed him tonight, you relax". I absolutely fumed. In silence. And felt more despair than ever. Used to say "I'll just take him for a walk in the pushchair, try and get him to sleep" the used to just find a wall and sit and cry.

I will add that following that holiday, I made DH watch the holiday video my stepdad had taken which showed me in the background sorting DS every time whilst DH laughed and joked. To be fair, his face drained and he said "I fucked up didn't I?" You think?? Subsequent years have improved tenfold smile

It's still a journey though.

Shakey1500 Mon 27-May-13 20:04:08

Oh and PLEASE tell me someone else does the following....

If DS is running or is overexcited and runs off, my heart is in my mouth and I stand stock still. Because logic tells me that should he fall and crack his head open (matter of time) then I will Have.Witnessed. Exactly.How.It.Happened to relay to the doctors ergo them knowing that it wasn't anything I did/didn't do= not a bad Mum blush

It's mentally exhausting but I don't know how to stop it.

peteypiranha Mon 27-May-13 20:05:48

Just think will anyone die if this doesnt get done today/the 'right' way? Trust your dh just because its not your way its not wrong. My mum flaps like this everything has to be exactly right. I would ring her to as if you brought the wrong brand or exact item she would act like the world had ended, so you start flapping and second guessing yourself. I never get like that when Im not with my mum and my dad agrees. If someones on a high state of alert/anxious then its difficult for everyone else.

Everyone else doesnt bother because if you try and do anything its not right, but then she moans no one helps. She gets worked up aboult the smallest things no one else would even notice or care about. She puts all the pressure on herself no one even cares about all the little bits.

IrnBruTheNoo Mon 27-May-13 20:10:14

shakey I can relate to the family meal situation, when with relatives and you're holding your baby yet no one steps in to help feed him/her. This has happened to me on several occasions when out socially (not that it happens very often!) and I feel a rage, as if to say 'why is no one even offering to help me here - give me five minute to eat my meal in peace when it's still hot - pleeeeeeeeeeeease!!'

Wish I didn't sweat the small stuff, honestly, I really do. But somehow I cannot switch off. So many things just get to me.

IrnBruTheNoo Mon 27-May-13 20:11:27

"Everyone else doesnt bother because if you try and do anything its not right, but then she moans no one helps. She gets worked up aboult the smallest things no one else would even notice or care about. She puts all the pressure on herself no one even cares about all the little bits."

Haha goodness that's me! When I've read it like that, I sound like a raving loon.

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 20:13:29

Irnbru that's me too!

thebestpossibletaste Mon 27-May-13 20:17:23

I do trust my dh, he is the one calling me for clarification!

But as he doesn't EVER cook, I am the one who picks the ingredients.

And please don't tell me to give him the freedom to cook. I have told him/asked him many times if he'd like to cook but he says he can't and that is that. He'll then suggest McDonald's, which I take him up on if I'm too tired to cook!

Please don't make this my fault too ;-) I already feel guilty about so many things and don't need more worries. I worry about providing the family with a healthy diet, enough fresh air and exercise, listening and talking, not too much tv/screen time/sugar, etc etc etc. There is so much pressure to be a perfect mother and wife AND slim and beautiful. Backing off sounds so easy but I don't know how to actually do it.

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 20:21:08

Thebestpossible I'm with you on this! Not stressing small stuff is all very well in theory but very hard to do, especially when you have things like DH phoning from supermarket about what is effectively the small stuff!!
( and when you are running the entire show for kids and him too! And you are at the bottom of your own list of priorities)

MiniTheMinx Mon 27-May-13 20:24:17

Mine are 8 and 12 and I still have the anxiety that something will happen. My concern is always water. DP can not swim so every time we walk anywhere near a pond or lake, go to the beach or to friends who have a pool I put myself between the Dcs and the water. Even if its only ankle deep! I can't relax whereas DP is oblivious.

A few years ago we went to a BBQ and the garden was huge, the grounds were lovely with lots of hiding places and a huge 10ft drop off the end of the lawn with steps either side. All of the children were running around on the top terrace. All the parents were drinking and chatting whilst I spent my time pacing along the terrace. In the end I organised hide and seek on the lower terrace to prevent any accidents. DP said "what a lovely relaxing afternoon" as we left. For him maybe.

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 20:25:46

Another indicator for me as to where I come in my prorities is my hair. I hAve a fringe which needs trimming and get my hair coloured or do it at home to cover greys. Often my hair is desperately needing colouring and my fringe is way too long for ages. Yet in this time DH will manage to book in for a trim of his own hair (always irritating).
I wonder how he does it.
The difference is he thinks to book his hair cut and then goes along to it, I think to book mine but then don't because I'm busy booking / organising other stuff. It's my own fault. And when I do book it, I actually feel guilty for leaving the kids and anxious about the baby who is 6mo.

Whoever keeps saying don't sweat small stuff etc will think this is ridiculous, which it is, but it is how I feel nonetheless

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 20:27:35

Ha Mini! Have been in this sort of situation too! I don't understand how Dps can be so oblivious to danger.

raggedymum Mon 27-May-13 20:28:46

dogsareeasier -- I too know women on "part time" with less pay but basically full time responsibility. That (along with the fact that I also pay the mortgage) is one of the reasons I decided to go back full time, since I couldn't see the point in just getting less money. One friend told me that she realised all she had done was negotiate a pay cut. And another is now facing the problem of she's supposed to return to full time in June, and thus will be expected to do more, even though she's already doing a full time load! She did mention this (with evidence, as we've recently all done an exercise where we track our hours), but I don't know if it'll be taken on board.

I know I'm tons of lucky that my job is flexible enough that I make my own hours and arrangements, but that is also part of the problem: I think it would be better if no one had to work 11 hour days, but the person who puts in half an hour more looks that much better and so everyone ends up doing as much as humanly possible just to look like everyone else. I just hope I can keep the quality up while doing less hours, but that's the fear I have, that I'm not. And what I can't tell is how much is just psychological and how much is I'm just not measuring up. (So far everyone seems to think I'm doing fine, but I don't feel like I am.)

And even though DH is main child care during the week, I also find I am doing the "little things" and being PA (I love that way of saying it!). I see what you're saying petey -- I too can be very particular, but I really try not bother about those things. It's stuff like if I always end up cleaning the crumbs off the highchair before dinner, because DH never does from lunch. And if I don't dress DD before I go, I'll come home to find her still in PJs (okay, I suppose she's a baby and doesn't care what she wears, but that means she's now worn her PJs all day and while I normally let her sleep 2-3 nights in the same PJs, that means I can't and so have to wash them instead and she has less PJs than regular clothes which means the washing will have to be done mid-week when I have less time, and I end up hanging out laundry when I should be working at home...). And that sounds tiny and petty, but piles of stuff like that can get tiring! I completely appreciate how much DH does, and know I could not work like I do without his help, but why is it always me who has to remember the baby bag when we both go out, etc?

SignoraStronza Mon 27-May-13 20:34:28

I think sleep deprivation and bf make me rather loopy, definitely. Coupled with never having time to myself/ourselves. I desperately miss my dh.Baby (11 months) simply will not go to/stay asleep on her own so even the evenings are never free. MIL took both of them out for a walk yesterday and we had our first non-sneaky, more than a quickie shag since she was conceived.blush

Five years between my two and the eldest didn't sleep through until she started school.

DH is brilliant with both of them and very, very involved but just wish he'd offer to take them both out of my hair at the same time occasionally, rather than wait for me to have a meltdown.

fufulina Mon 27-May-13 20:37:16

To dive in, only on page 5 of this thread, but curry I went to the GP two weeks ago. Am so anxious, low, exhausted, etc. and said that I felt like I was asking her to medicate life. This is how life is in early thirties, working, two pre-schoolers and a DP who tries but just doesn't get it. I totally related to the wet bedding anecdote. I love that on MN I totally see myself talking back at me. Not people horrified that being a mother isn't the best thing I've ever done. It's not.

fufulina Mon 27-May-13 20:47:06

Now finished thread. Totally agree with so many points. The boredom, lack if choice, time alone and the anger... Thank you for starting this OP.

This thread is wonderful and I identify with so much. Thank you.

Curry your Doctor Who analogy is perfect, that's it exactly! I'm me, but I'm different. I used to be so confident, sociable and independent, now I'm riddled with anxieties and some mild OCD traits that I've had for years are much worse.

I'd love a Bernard's Watch some days (I actually dream of owning one, as though it's real). I'd pause everything and then go to bed, or just stare into space, you know? Just be.
I've always liked my own company and am quite content when alone.

I love my children and I try my best but I find playing quite boring tbh. I hope I don't fuck them up too much.

mrspolkadotty Mon 27-May-13 21:37:05

YY to almost every point raised on this thread. Thank you OP for starting it.

I crave quiet, seem to constantly crave it. I plan in my mind what i would do with a weekend to myself, where i would go, what i would do, even what i would eat.

I am a SAHM but my disability (hate saying that) limits me as to what i can do and it would certainly affect my chances of getting/holding down a job so i feel a bit redundant and useless either way. DH works hard but is oblivious to anything else unless it is spelled out to him. Things did come to a head last June when i threatened to leave and he has improved greatly since then with regards to helping out but it's still so fucking relentless and i am so tired and in constant pain.

I coped with having DD1 at 16 and was blissfully happy after having DS until at 13 months old he had his first fit. I have gone downhill since then and feel i will never, ever be me again. I am just this ticking time-bomb of anxiety and underlying panic waiting to explode. DD2 has been the most difficult child and many a time i have sat and cried and wished we'd stuck at 2 dcs (feel so awful saying that sad ).

I worry that my dcs will look back on their childhood and hate me sad

meglet Mon 27-May-13 21:37:50

Probably on my own here but I found it easier when the dc's were very small as they slept well, happily played in their cots if they woke early and had naps. The naps stopped 2yrs ago and I think that was the beginning of the downward spiral. Going back to work as a LP after my maternity leave didn't help either, I saw more adults on mat leave and was able to work at my / the DC's pace.

I'm an introvert and constantly dealing with the DC's in our tiny house and working is shredding my nerves to pieces.

Another one who hopes I haven't fucked them up too much. I put all my energy into supporting them with their education as at least they won't be massive screw ups if they do well at school.

curryeater Mon 27-May-13 22:00:43

Big hugs to you all, you heroes.
especially meglet and the others who identify as introverts.

Please can I hijack for little piece of potted me-me-me. Am in tears now because of big row with dp which started when he suggested that this time, when we move house, instead of getting the big van we get a cheaper smaller van to move just our long furniture we can't put in our car, and move the rest "ourselves". DP can't drive. I started gently by pointing out that "you are suggesting swapping money for time. Time is the stuff we don't have" and made a few sarcastic suggestions like "yes, we could be moving our stuff in car loads of boxes instead of going to the gym, or going to parties" (we never go to the gym. We never go to parties)

Eventually it sank in that last time we moved, although we officially had removal men and a big van (they were great), we were so disorganised that the last 9 or 10 car loads of stuff came out of the house by me doing it, on my own, because only I can drive. It almost killed me. I had 4 days leave (4 days I will never get back) to do "house stuff". I was exhausted at the end of it and one side of my back had siezed up. Now he is suggesting we do this voluntarily?!
I got cross and he got very aggressive and it became a huge row. He says I have been horrible all weekend. All weekend I have been on the verge of collapse. Out housing situation is horrible but I think I have finally sorted it, after a long long long process, by exchanging contracts on Friday on a house I hope we can stay in forever. The celebration is muted by the fact that the process was so endless and tricky, and I feel so uncongratulated, and drained. And now am seriously being presented with a proposal that I carry shit around in a small car for a few weeks to save a few ££. After work? Instead of sleeping? Instead of work? wtf. wtaf.

MacMac123 Mon 27-May-13 22:26:05

In bed but a quick message for you Curry - get the removal men and get them to do the packing too. It's actually not that much (did it recently in central london and was surprised how reasonable it was). It saves a lot of aggro. With 2 kids now I will never pack or move a house myself again!

Stand. Your. Ground!

mercury7 Mon 27-May-13 22:29:31

Curryeater you poor thing that must be incredibly stressful and upsettingsad

as a dyed in the wool introvert I always felt as if any arguments caused me way more stress than they caused my partner, it always felt like he had the hide of a rhino where as I had skin like wet tissue paper.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Mon 27-May-13 22:34:17

So sorry, curryeater, that sounds really stressful and upsetting. Doesn't he get that he's asking you to do a huge amount of extra work? Is he often this oblivious?

I second getting movers and getting them to pack. We did it last year and I think having them pack cost about an extra £200. Definitely worth it!

NightLark Mon 27-May-13 22:46:33

YY removers who pack. It's what you need. They go through the house like locusts, clear EVERYTHING.

Totally relate to 'instead of sleeping? instead of work? wtf?'.

You are not (I know you didn't ask, but you are not) being unreasonable. At all.

Ledkr Mon 27-May-13 22:50:50

Yes. I sometimes feel (and act ) very unwell indeed.
It's all a but much at times isn't it?
Work is good for me too I agree about the weekends as well. Dh works most if them so I'm alone as well ands its so long and depressing and I go to work Monday not feeling refreshed from the weekend.

NightLark Mon 27-May-13 22:53:24

And the rest of the thread- bloody YES.

Sleep deprivation.

Buck-stops-here responsibility for bloody everything from nursery lunches to after school clubs to bills and getting the building work sorted.

Sleep deprivation.

A day that begins at 5am, ends sometime after 9pm and has no days off, every.

More sleep deprivation.

Seeing 'work' as effective down time as you have some autonomy, space to think etc. And crapping all over my so-called career in the process.

Weekends (long weekends, holidays) being way harder than work.

Introvert central (me me me) buckling under the strain of constant children (I have 3) who want me to comment, admire, be sat on, hold hands, braid hair, tell jokes, listen to jokes, be sat on, carry, fetch, cuddle, story-tell....

I love them more than I could have ever imagined, but I am tired beyond belief, more angry than I knew I was capable of, resentful, exhausted...

NutsinMay Mon 27-May-13 22:56:15

Wow, came back to this thread today after a much more relaxing day (DM(a trusty pair of hands) is staying for a couple of days and DP was out the way much of the time- coincidence?) to see it has grown considerably.

Some amazing points have been raised and I can identify with so much, i.e DPs that are well meaning but have no common sense whatsoever or who make more work for us one way or another.

Also DPs on the whole can go back to full-time work and keep up a near normal social life in a way that mothers can't or don't want to(but we still can resent them for that all the same).

And yes that sense of underlying anger. I'm not an argumentative person. I have never argued with partners. I almost always remained friends with boyfriends. I was laid back in relationships. I never nagged or had arguments and yet since my 2nd DC I find myself snapping a lot at DP or fuming silently, or resenting his ability to sleep for 12 hours plus and lie-in or be able to switch off about the children.Our relationship has crashed and burned spectacularly since having children. We only really get on once they are both in bed.

Even if my youngest DD sleeps through as she did last night(for about the fifth time in 2 years), I still feel I haven't had a good night's sleep. I'm hyper alert so I can hear her when she wakes up. I seem to have lost the ability to have a deep refreshing sleep.

I am an introvert too so it was not really the loss of a social life that affected me post DC but the loss of personal space and sufficient downtime during the day.My DC have always been quite clingy and physical and whilst the cuddles are lovely, my choice to breastfeed long-term meant that(as much as I love breastfeeding), I sometimes struggled with the constant physical "manhandling" that that has often entailed.

The story about the poster who was trying to shower with her DD trying to get through the screen really resonated with me too. Too frequently DP has managed to get 30 minutes of peace to get ready. I try and have a quick shower only to have DD1 wailing, shrieking and sobbing because Daddy tried to brush her hair. I then hear DD2 crying "mummy" because she has a) fallen over or b) she wants to see what her sister is doing and she too comes upstairs to find me. I then continue to try to dry and dress with two little people truing to "help me".

BooCanary Mon 27-May-13 23:03:19

This thread is so refreshing.

Since having DCs I have such a quick temper. I spend half the time worrying about the fact I've shouted at the DCs or not been patient enough with them.

I have times where I appear to massively overreact. For example, I'll phone DH to say me and DCs are on our easy home and can he put oven on. I'll get home and he'll have forgotten. And I go MENTAL. Proper banshee, and he'll look at me like I'm insane - 'its no problem, I'll put it on now, don't worry'. But its not the point. Its the fact that no one reminds me to do ANYTHING. I have 50 fucking things going round my head at any one time that I have to remember, and DH can't even the remember the one thing I have asked him to do 2 minutes earlier.

ITs amazing how little things can push me totally over the edge these days. And its because I'm at mental capacity. I can't remember/cope with/do anymore than I am currently doing. And every time DH forgets the oven or the dishwasher or DDs coat or that DS needs to brush his teeth, it pushes me closer to that edge and makes me feel alone.

curryeater Mon 27-May-13 23:04:43

yy nutsinmay.

Dp told me to go and lie down today at about 3 because I was shattered when we all came in. (Mistimed everything so I was driving while the dcs slept, so no naptime for me to have down time in). I went upstairs, and just when I was about to drop off, they came up and the little one is MENTAL just now. the 4 yo was all "Please can I come in bed? I just want a cuddle" and that would have been ok (tho no sleep of course) but the 2yo would have been pulling my nose and ears off. I got books, sat up in bed with them and read, after weakly pleading with them for 5 mins to go downstairs. In the middle of the story dp bustled officiously up, saying "what are you doing here? Mummy needs a rest." Obviously he had been on the internet and only just noticed they weren't around. then he said "Oh but you are having a story, that's nice" and wandered off again, thinking we were all happy. Well, ok, someone has to mind children and I am their mother. BUT HE THINKS HE GAVE ME A REST. IN HIS MIND RIGHT NOW, HE IS CONGRATULATING HIMSELF FOR GIVING ME A REST WHILE I WAS ACTUALLY READING STORIES TO HIS CHILDREN

curryeater Mon 27-May-13 23:07:18

x-post with boo canary


Also, thanks to everyone who sympathised about the moving house. I will look into getting packers, we probably can't afford it but I will suggest it to move the overton window in terms of what I should be doing and what we can pay people to do. Great idea, thanks x

NutsinMay Mon 27-May-13 23:08:59

Yes agree BooCanary. I have to remember so many things that I find myself getting completely wound up by the one thing I'm relying on DP to remember do/not do.

DP says " that's a major over reaction" or "You need to stop getting so angry with people" and it just winds me up even more.

He annoying has the patience of Buddha but 9 hours sleep a night(and often more at weekends) will do that to a person won't it?

Dozer Mon 27-May-13 23:10:29

curryeater sad. stick to your guns about decent removal services, your H is out of order, but sounds like your housing situation will improve, thanks to you, even if the run up and move is fraught.

mrsrambo, agree completely.

raggedymum, think part of the challenge with working after DC is competing with child-free people and people with SAH partners (usually wonen), who simply do more hours and give more of their energy to work. You are not less competent now, just have more demands on you. My approach is to get as much done as possible in the hours I am prepared to give to work (not as many as I should), try to minimise the self-criticism about my (now much worse) performance, and just try to turn up and cling on!

With regard to the SAHM/expat scenario, it must be infuriating, when isolated and struggling at home, to be expected to feel grateful for everything that "he is providing for the family". The working OH partner is enabled to work all the hours by someone covering absolutely everything at home, with very little DC-free time. And there are many payoffs to working (OH) hard and long hours that have nothing to do with family wealth/wellbeing.

Dozer Mon 27-May-13 23:14:17

Why is your DH so patient (ie relaxed) and getting so much sleep OP, when you are so stressed and sleep-deprived? Even if ebf surely you should be getting lie-ins or naps in the day?

If one partner is struggling and the other is relaxed and feeling fine, there's something unfair going on.

NutsinMay Mon 27-May-13 23:17:21

curryeater Yes moving house is stressful enough(I'm moving soon too). I do hope you get your removal men. I shall be demanding them hopefully!

Oh I must go to bed. To think I could have spend the last 3 hours getting some sleep in- but the night time(on mumsnet, drinking tea and eating crap etc) that's when I really get to be myself for a couple of hours- sad but true.

MiniTheMinx Mon 27-May-13 23:21:43

curryeater glad you have the house sorted now, shame about your DH and the removals. Why not buy him a hand cart or a wheelbarrow and tell him to walk it, he can't drive, not your problem......you can't carry wink

Stick to your guns. Moving is exhausting at the best of times but with children very stressful. Last time we did it was 6 years ago on the hottest day of August. I have only just recovered! whilst DP was happy to dump the boxes and grab a beer, I was doing my Linda Barker thing, desperate to have everything just so within a few hours confused and panicking about curtains because I didn't want to scare the neighbours. Good luck with your move.

NutsinMay Mon 27-May-13 23:22:58

Dozer- well he does have a different temperement than me. Although I think he does find the house quite stressful to live in at the moment- but he would probably say that was down to me and the way I overreact, get stressed etc.

I think he's a more laid back person anyway and he loves his sleep. Truth is he used to offer me a lie in when we just had one DD but once she was up and I could hear her I just couldn't relax, go back to sleep properly.

Once DD2 was born (2 years ago), I just stopped having the occasional lie in all together. I'm not someone who finds it easy to sleep in the day. So it's my choice I suppose.

PLus he goes to bed really early (9pm tonight). I suppose I just like to have some time up reading/ on internet etc in the evenings having been full- on all day.

NightLark Mon 27-May-13 23:24:46

Yes, it is unfair, but. But.

It's easy to start down a thought process of 'but he needs more sleep than me (always has)', 'but he finds it harder than me ('tis obvious, just look)', 'but they want me (listen to them shouting mamma, mamma').

Every individual occasion has a 'yes, but'.

And before you know it, you are in a situation where you both appear to be equally shattered, but one of you is doing 80%+ of the 'family' stuff.

choceyes Mon 27-May-13 23:41:05

I feel very similar to a lot of posts on here. Very similar to you infact OP.

Nearly 5 years of disturbed sleep. DCs that won't leave each other alone, annoying each other all the time. It is so exhausting.
Yes one child was easy, two children are very hard work. Occasionally they do play together (DC 4.5yrs and DD 2.9yrs), but it happens so rarely, that when they do, even then I can't breath a sigh of relief because I know it's going to end in tears very very soon!
A lot of the time i feel anxious, stressed, frustrated and out of control and helpless when I'm with the DCs. And very controlling too. I was never like this before kids.
Yes yes yes, it is easier to be out than in the house. I work 3 days a week (bliss!) and on the 2 days that I'm with them alone, I'm usually out 10-5. If I am at home, it is squabbling over toys, repeated requests of cbeebies, hitting each other, competing for my attention etc. Even when out they do annoy each other, but it is bearable.
And sometimes they do get on and it is lovely.

On the plus side my DH is lovely and does loads of housework and his fair share of childcare. He is good at entertaining them and making them play together. And we do give each other breaks during the weekend, so its' not all bad. But the thing is...I don't need a break from the children, as I do enjoy being with them as they are lovely children really, but it's more the case then when I'm with them alone, I feel like I can't cope, but if there is someone else with me, be it DH, or my parents or a friend, even if they are not physically helping with the DCs, I feel so much better equipped to handle the DCs squabbles and tantrums. But my parents live hours away and I don't meet many friends during the 2 days I have alone with the DCs, so it can get quite difficult.

It has got easier though. I found the first year of DC2 life very very difficult. I took an years maternity leave and by the end of it i wanted to go back to work so much. I was very very down and stressed out. DS was only 21 months when DD was born and still very much dependant on me and took to DD quite badly. it was a very dark time in my life. I went to the GP to be assessed for PND, but it turns out I wasn't depressed, just stressed out.

I feel so much better now that I work 3 days a week.

I do enjoy being with the DCs, I really do. They are both lovely, interesting and funny things and I love them to pieces, but OMG there are some shitty moments of parenting. Last time was when I was at the supermarket and both DCs were running around like loonies grabbing things off the shelves and throwing them around. Trying to knock over the wine bottles, insisting on carrying around yoghurt tubs and huge screaming tantrums when I refused to let DD throw the yoghurt on the floor. Emptying out the cheese section on to the floor. it was very embarrassing and I was so stressed out. I don't normally shop with them, but I had to on this occasion as had run out of basic essentials. it was at the end of the day and they were both tired from a busy day out. I handles it badly and grabbed them and screamed at them repeatedly. I was in tears in the end. That was a BAD DAY.

thebestpossibletaste Mon 27-May-13 23:47:03

I also find my thoughts contradicting - I want time without dh but when he goes out it's usually inconvenient because either I end up doing tea and bedtime alone - I barely ever go out (maybe twice a year during the day for coffee with an old school friend but am home for tea time) or gets back so late that he wakes me up after midnight, meaning I'm shattered the next day. I know I'm being unreasonable, but as mentioned by others I seem to be full of anger and resentment that I can't have a life, whatever that entails.

CremeEggThief Mon 27-May-13 23:57:55

I love my DS, but he grinds me down, stresses and exhausts me. He is very loving and bright, but gets easily upset and angry, often about the most random of things. He can be very cheeky, rude and disrespecful at times and is so persistent, that eventually I usually snap at him. He never takes any blame and at ten, can give any old woman a run when it comes to moaning!

I love him dearly, but he is very hard work and I don't think I would have had the energy for DC2, because of him. I find him harder work and more energy-slapping than a class of 40 Nursery children, to be totally honest. And I struggle to deal with my guilt over this.

BeaWheesht Tue 28-May-13 00:12:32

Fully admit to not having read whole thread.

In answer to the original question - yes. I've lost my confidence and am suffering from anxiety and have done for 7 years since I first got pregnant.

What affects me most is a/ the noise is relentless and b/ I can never be 'carefree' I am always having to think about what the kids need / want / where they're going etc etc - Dh does not appreciate at all how much effort I put into all these things. If they're ill I have to take on full responsibility because he is useless and especially at night will sleep no matter what even if he's promised to stay awake eg if they're vomiting or breathing is bad or something. This makes me dread them being ill which makes me anxious....

However I do love them and couldn't love them more if I tried. Don't regret having them for an instant but do feel guilty that I'm not the happy go lucky, perfect house owning gym bunny mummy my friends all seem to be!

idlevice Tue 28-May-13 00:51:29

I've never been on the same wavelength to such an extent before on a MN thread than on this one. I wish I could meet you all at a RL parent/toddler/baby group. I feel very much the same, but have no hope of articulating it thanks to motherhood-diminished mental capacities. After 5yrs I have mostly acquiesced to the SAHP role & try not to dwell on what has been lost, it's too depressing.

Btw, the bomb analogy comes from Nora Ephron, who said having a baby is like throwing a hand grenade at your relationship.

Terrorvision Tue 28-May-13 00:53:37

Thank Christ, a safe place to wade in and say:

Before DC I was a calm and kind person, very laid back, very considerate. Now I am a shouty, stressed mum who can never get on top of things.

DH comes from a warmer, more family oriented family to mine - or so I thought - and was going to be a great parent, able to make up for my inadequacies. Or so I thought. Actually, I find myself irritated to beyond fuck by his priorities. He is a clean freak, who wants the DC to sit quietly while he watches TV and pays no attention to them, their lives and what matters to me.

The only way I can make sure things conform to the way I think really matters is to do everything myself, and I do - mealtimes, play dates, drop offs, pick ups, conversations about friends, days out. I feel angry and resentful all the time but at least I don't have to do as he wants and get in a tizzy about the amount of stuff stores in the garage, the cleanliness of the car or the urgent need to replace the garden wall - all of which can wait till kingdom come.

The result is I am alone with my worries, and there is no one yo appreciate what I do do, but a lot of moaning about the state of the house. It's so boring, lonely and angering.

I would never have believed it would be like this. There was no sign.

I am a shouty, frustrated mum, unsupported and negative. I honestly thought it would not be like this for me or any oft generation (ha!).

Meanwhile I find it impossible to be the person I was at work pre DC - work seems so pointless and I am bad at it and uncommitted. Then I get anxious about throwing my career away. Didn't see that coming either.

Love my DC. Think I am a better person as a result of them but think it is highly unlikely I would have chosen this path if I had known what it was really like. I want to shake my friends who are still hoping to meet DH and have kids to run for the hills.

peteypiranha Tue 28-May-13 06:48:52

Curry eater- Get in bed and barricade the door with heavy things even if the scream they cant get in then dp would have to sort it. Sleep with headphones on. Thats what I would do. I have those ear defenders men on building sites have and I couldnt care less what happens when its not my turn, its not my turn whether there was a fire or an earthquake I wouldnt get up.

In my place though if dc wonder in I shout at top of my lungs to dh saying your not doing your job and he runs in apologising a million times. You are being a bit of a doormat. I would also have said no Im not having a story get them out the room and he would do so immediately. Your dh probably thought you were alright with it by acting so meekly.

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 07:17:06

I know but I can't shout GET THESE CHILDREN AWAY FROM ME in front of them, can I? I work stupid hours, feel terrible about not seeing them enough, the little one in particular needs a lot more of me and is all over me when I am around. I need him to effectively take them away from me in a way that doesn't broadcast that I have asked him to do this, because otherwise it is sending them a horrible message.

Salbertina Tue 28-May-13 07:32:42

Codeword, Curry to say to dp when you're at breaking point??

FunLovinBunster Tue 28-May-13 07:37:21

Not just the bomb thing.
I told my mum that since I had DD its like I have 1 hand tied behind and a wearing a blindfold. in other words even simple things like leaving the house is majorly difficult. Off to saisnburys later with her in tow as its half term.
Oh the JOY.

I have become a lot more upfront with DH. "you need to take these kids to the park now." "DD, you can play upfront now, daddy will come with you" etc...

However. It is still being everyone's PA, so it still takes up my energy and brain-space, iykwim?

Plus, I don't relax in the day. I'm a bad sleeper, so if I go up for a nap, I'd have to be up there 3hrs before I slept one, so DH thanks he's given me 3x as much of a break as he actually has.

I really really emphasise with the posher up thread who said it's not that you regret DC, or don't live them - they're great, it's just everything else that becomes shitty. Plus, no rest...

Poster, love

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 07:50:51

Op thank goodness you started this thread for everyone to vent. I seriously thought I was alone in it all.
I was a lp of 4 dc the boys practically grown up and a baby girl. I was ok. Good job nice social life (boys happy to babysit) a good holiday with kids each year and fun trips in between. I was content and happy.
Lie ins returned and I started to make plans to sell bug family home and downsize (life and house) maybe move abroad.
Then in a whirlwind I met dh and fell in love.
Life stayed the same just shared.
Then two years ago I had dd2. Red hair, reflux, cleft palate, high high needs.
We adore her. She is amazing. But she's broken us.
No sleep for years, too tired for a social life, weight gain, no time to look or feel nice. Full on days with no reprieve.
Weekends alone with two dds who's age gaps make it a but difficult.
I too am so resentful. I blow up at the slightest thing and feel constantly shattered. I get ill a lot, very anxious about stuff.
I work part time but have no real enthusiasm for my career as simply too tired.
Dh is fab but so laid back and does nothing quickly and forgets often.
He also looks exhausted.
I'm not sure we will make it.
I look at others at toddler groups and they look so happy.
I wonder if I'm the only one.
Thanks for showing I'm not.

Khaleese Tue 28-May-13 07:53:30

Only last week i though, wow i don't watch the clock from 4.00 anymore!

They get easier in terms of the mental strain. I found two under two very hard, very draining. I loved them, enjoyed them and i'm sure loads of people think i found it easy, but it is hard.

Sleep deprevation is awful, as is lack of me time. Once they sleep ( break them however you need to) you will feel much better. Then allocate yourself a bit if time each week or month and do something for yourself. It's very important.

TheCountessOlenska Tue 28-May-13 08:18:50

Amazing thread.

curry you write brilliantly about it.

Ledkr The reason I look happy at toddler group is because I'm not in the house snapping at the kids and crying.

choceyes I so agree that I don't need a break from the kids so much as another adult with me. I can't tell you how much I appreciate my DM for helping me out with this - don't know what I'd do without her. It's a two person (at least) job.

Totally agree about the rage and anger - where did it come from I was going to be such a chilled out parent hmm

DH was much keener than me to have kids - I used to joke that I'd have the baby, hand it over to him, and get back on the wine HAHAHA. From the first moment when newborn DD cried and DH handed her back to me saying "I don't know what to do with her.." I have done the vast majority of parenting.

peteypiranha Tue 28-May-13 08:31:14

Curry - I just shout dhs name then he comes running and I say theres daddy go and play. Your dh will get the hint. You dont need to let the kids know

peteypiranha Tue 28-May-13 08:33:04

Also there is nothing at all wrong in saying mummys very tired from going to work to get the pennies for all your lovely things, and looking after you. Shes just having a little rest go and play with daddy. I say that and it definitely doesnt make the children love you any less.

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 09:17:30

So many people on here have much harder lots than me. I don't feel under pressure because I have difficult kids or difficult circumstances, but just because I am probably a bit shit.

ledkr - love how you head the list of your dd2's difficulties with "red hair". I have red hair, so maybe that is the root of my problem!

CountessOlenska, thankyou for saying I write well about this. I feel very expressive when faced with a keyboard and a bunch of presumably sympathetic strangers. I feel a lot less articulate at home faced with dp.

This stuck out for me, from TeWi:

"if I go up for a nap, I'd have to be up there 3hrs before I slept one, so DH thanks he's given me 3x as much of a break as he actually has."

The accounting aspect of this really struck me. We feel so desperate that we are noting and totting internally all the time, stuck in tortured competition with our "partners" - but internally - we (or I, at least) never express this. I think it would be counterproductive for him to know just how aware I am, on exactly how detailed a level, how much I am losing out. I don't think it would make him more inclined to help me, it would just make him think I am petty, like me even less, and be even less inclined to have any sympathy for my point of view.

I am stuck in a popularity contest in which I am cravenly trying to negotiate for what in another world would be my rights, based on how much an arbitrary individual happens to feel vaguely affectionate towards me, or not.

HandbagCrab Tue 28-May-13 09:58:42

I really empathise with people on this thread. I'm getting a general sense of mums feeling they have to do everything right otherwise something terrible will happen and they are feeling the crushing weight of the responsibility for this.

I think you have to give up some control on things that are making you stressed and just see what happens. If you can chuck money at it, then it's worth it. I was scared ds would stop breathing in the night, so I bought a pad that sounds an alarm if he stops moving. The pad takes the responsibility for ds' breathing, I don't need to give it headspace.

I have issues with anxiety so I deliberately schedule relaxing time which is really helping me manage it and I spend less time with people who make me feel anxious/ low too. So a hot bath, a yoga class, a herbal tea, a facial are priorities for me so I make time to do them over say spending time with people I don't like, doing a supermarket shop, cleaning etc. Everyone has different things that make them feel more calm and in control and perhaps it's just thinking about what they are and making time for them.

Pfaffer Tue 28-May-13 10:11:03

I'm ashamed to say that after 9 years of realising that dh wasn't going to take any initiative, we got totally plastered and I wept at him that I was completely worn out from the exhaustion of having to do all the thinking about family. It was epic. It encompassed child, school, illness, his mother (that was a big one) who he now realises he can't just leave me to deal with alone - at the end of it I said very directly 'Please, please stop being passive, please support me because I can't stand that you are allowed to ignore all these stresses by simply refusing to see them as stresses.'

The upshot is that he has started wiping worktops. I have literally no idea what goes on in his head confused

Yes! I do feel a bit resentful sometimes I think. His job is not easy, but he gets on well and they appreciate him.

I stay home all day and deal with strops, wee, poo, animals, gardening, cleaning, cooking, washing...

He's also been going to sports clubs in the evening (after kids are in bed) - which I would love to do too (and he'd have no objection), but can't because I seem to be constantly pregnant/breastfeeding so actually I can't.

I'm very aware of the fact that there are lots of ways that would help make life a little better, hut they all involve money we don't have or me being able to drive, which I can't yet (learning, but run out of money)

It's not that DH is a dick making me do all this stuff, or I don't allow him to make mistakes or blah blah. U find that kind of advice quote patronising - it's that because I am in the thick of it, to me it is relentless, constant, 24/7 even when I'm having a lie in and DH is doing the kids breakfast and washing up after because I cannot put off pitching in while there are children in the house. Combined with very, very rarely getting a chance to do anything else.

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 11:01:53

blush sorry re the red hair comment.
I just meant that from the beginning she just was different to the others in many ways largely her temperament.
How do people feel about simple personality differences because I seriously don't recall my other dc being so very demanding hmm and causing me so much anguish

Salbertina Tue 28-May-13 11:13:50

Ledkr- one of my dc is like this, v oppositional, v defiant, always!! Someone down thread mentioned "feeling broken" by dc, feel dc1 had this effect on me hmm Not his fault, i guess though v hard to separate individual from the behaviour. Big sigh and sympathies.

springymater Tue 28-May-13 12:47:33

My kids have left home now - I brought them up largely alone - and I still, to this day, relish the quiet. I don't just relish it, I luxuriate in the quiet. I never take it for granted. I don't have a partner and I live alone (mostly - sometimes students, lodgers) and I just adore it. In fact, I think I have been recovering from childrearing years for the past 2 or 3 years. I barely do a thing - after all those years of doing everything.

This thread has had me laughing/wheezing until I thought I'd be sick. curry you are a total star and you should be making stupid money writing.

It was mercury7's comment had me wheezing and crying with laughter:

oh, I absolutely do love my children, i did my best for them but mostly it was pretty rubbish

Anyways, you've all made me feel much better about my parenting My kids have, sadly, gone off the rails - which is an immense heartache - and I had assumed I was a crap mother at least on some level. I now realise I did a herculean thing by bringing them up alone. (ok, the way things have transpired it could look like I didn't do such a good job... but that's not necessarily the case AT ALL).

I have to say that I can't help noticing how much work a contemporary mother/parent is expected to do with their kids. There are a lot of rules and restrictions that just didn't apply when I was bringing up my kids - though they were definitely rumbling in the wings and I was dragged this way and that, thinking I 'ought' to be doing this and that. When I was a kid, we went off on our bikes for the day with a sandwich. I'm just as fucked up as my kids, so what's the difference?

I relate to so much of what has been said. My kids asked me to stop taking them to the school gates in my pyjamas. I went insane with sleep-deprivation at one stage - lost my mind, thought the trees were talking to me. Simmered with hatred and jealousy that my husband could GET A COFFEE WHEN HE FELT LIKE IT or READ A PAPER. Later, when the youngest had to be at school at 8am and the oldest wasn't coming in until 3-4am I had another sleep-deprivation loony time. In the end I turned off my phone and went to sleep - if she was dead I'd at least have had the sleep to cope with it.

yes, parenting affects your mental health. Big time.

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 12:54:54

Well today we popped out for dd1 tap class at half nine.
So big drama to leave house much screaming in car.
Planning a nice restful day (am I mad?) was changing her nappy and she kicked me in the throat.
Henceforth much hysteria from me about not being able to stand another second of my life as it is.
From zero to 90 in one kick in the throat. <sobs>

mercury7 Tue 28-May-13 12:57:37

same here, I've lived alone for 2 1/2 years now, it really does feel like a kind of convalescence from being a parent, I am slowly returning to myself.

I consider myself so lucky that my offspring have sprung off, the thought of still having them living with me in their 20's and 30's is my idea of a living hell.

Your kids may get back on the rails, it may just be part of their own development?

mercury7 Tue 28-May-13 13:00:24

and my mum, as I've said was even worse than me, dont much like her but I dont blame her, who knows what made her the way she was?

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 13:02:47

I really identify with the "mind full to capacity" comment earlier.
I sometimes can't even sleep because my mind won't shut off and don't even talk to me about holidays or Xmas etc.
Everyone just floats along looking forward to something which miraculously just occurs while I am dreading it sick with worry and pressure knowing that even if I made a stand and didn't do it that I'd end up sorting that out too when the time came.

fufulina Tue 28-May-13 13:24:57

I often wonder what we could all achieve if our minds weren't so full of the minutiae of running families. Women that is. It scares me how much of my headspace is taken up with shit and green beans (to paraphrase Marilyn French).

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 13:27:40

So sorry you were kicked in the throat, ledkr. sad

Springy, thank you for a perspective from the future - thanks

I think one of the things we have to acknowledge, which has been slightly mis-sold, is the finitude of resources. In the following senses:

- that sometimes it is a horrible zero-sum game between you and your partner, or you and someone else, or between family and work. and the hippy bullshit that you are somehow augmented by giving does not always come true. Sometimes you give x, the recipient gets x, and you are x down. Permanently. Time, money, sleep, whatever. It won't come back to you ten-fold, or even one-fold. It's just gone, you gave it away, or had it taken, and you can give so much you don't have enough left to live on, and you need to be a bit cannier about what you have to give, but how? Especially in a culture which is all about lurve and loyalty from women, in which it is very hard to say "if you don't let me have x this time, which means, I am sorry to say, you can have it, I will DIE INSIDE."

- You can, honestly, not cope. You can collapse. It could all be over. It's not a choice between super-top-hole-slick-competence, and adorable-backlit-muddle-through-rustic-shabby-chic-loveliness, and who cares if it is the latter because it is still terribly photogenic. It is actually sometimes about whether you are functional or the whole thing has collapsed and you have been carried away screaming.

- hard work does not necessarily build you up, it wears you down. this a bit like the first point but slightly different. in a time where exercise and physical fitness are trendy we are encouraged to believe that if you feel the burn, you will be stronger tomorrow. Sometimes when you feel the burn, you will be charred and flaky tomorrow.


- last summer I had a sort of breakdown and was sent "home" from work but actually cried in a cinema for a while because I couldn't face dp, although I can't remember exactly why. I have been trying to remember this morning because I felt warning signs a little like the ones last summer and I have to work out what to do to stop it happening again. Perhaps what happened last summer is exactly what happened last night and today - he is not talking to me because of the row last night - maybe the same thing happened that time, maybe I wasn't coping so "behaved badly", so he blew up at me, so when I melted down at work I knew he wasn't on my side, so couldn't go home. I think he thinks I should always be nice to him but the thing is he isn't on my side always. He just isn't. Sometimes he is my enemy. He hates to know this. he hates to see this in me, but he doesn't relate this to his behaviour, he sees it as my choice to decide whether he is the enemy or not but I see it as his choice to decide whether to be a git or support me. Patriarchal society equips him to be a git and he must make a conscious choice to be different and is not always conscious enough to do so, but he doesn't recognise this because he thinks he is Special. He's only so special. We are all only so special.

- I have watched how a lot of happy couples behave and noticed that often, the woman issues kind and charming instructions without getting up. She controls everything without actually having to physically do it. SIL never goes to the bar, never pays a bill or produces money, never takes their smaller son to the loo. The only time I have ever seen her get up when out to lunch was to help me, when I was heavily pregnant and needed help to change dd1's nappy on a floor I couldn't get down to. Her husband completely accepts this role as gopher and she appears to completely accept her role as organisational master-mind. I have tried to copy this occasionally in my relationship - trying to make charming suggestions to DP on the basis that I have made the effort to think of it, so he could make the effort to do it - but I usually get the fish eye when I ask him to do things, he clearly thinks that if I can think it, I can do it, if it matters to me why don't I get off my own arse. I haven't explicitly explained the reasoning behind what I am doing and how I am trying to share the load, because this would involve opening the can of worms that he doesn't currently do enough, which makes him flip out and be aggressive.

HandbagCrab Tue 28-May-13 13:33:05

I hope I'm not too evangelical, but what helps me manage my anxiety is tackling it and the things I'm anxious about.

So if I feel like I'm panicking I write it down why I'm scared, how likely it is to happen, what I can do about it, what the worst consequences might be. It really helps. This might work with anger too.

I've spent lots of time since becoming a mum working out what's important to me. I don't want a big house, I want a nice house for example. I want a happy family, not a perfect family. I'd rather spend time with ds than give all my energy to work. By making my own decisions where I can I feel better, like I am in control. I absolutely do not feel guilty when dh does loads of stuff btw and he still loves me, so he says smile

HandbagCrab Tue 28-May-13 13:41:03

curryeater you don't have to do it all. Give yourself permission to not be a poster girl for 'doing it all' womanhood. I have a career and it's on the backburner whilst I have a pre schooler. My sanity is more important than my bank balance right now, and if having a few years part time completely fucks ones career in this society, then it's not one I want to perpetuate quite frankly! I appreciate not everyone can afford to do this though.

Me and dh share the work when we do stuff. I don't have to ask him to do things (I often do nappies as baby changes are in women's toilets in a lot of places still). It doesn't sound great that if you express unhappiness or ask your dh to help it gets argumentative and aggressive. Is this perhaps part of your problem (don't feel you have to reply)?

MrsRambo Tue 28-May-13 14:27:18

curry I think you make a very good point about finite resources. Sometimes there is nothing left to give. And that is that.

The difficulties you have with your DH I can relate to. It's not a simple matter of doing less yourself and asking them to do more. DP and I have sat down and had perfectly civil and calm discussions about work loads, what we can cope with, what to do when one of us is feeling like it's all getting too much etc. However, ultimately, he has signed up to a very different looking job description to the one I have signed up to and in the heat of a stressful day when both our resources are low, it is his version of the job description that he will wave in my face and get cross about and not mine (not even the post discussion modified version...). I don't know where his job description came from and where mine came from? I know his mum was a 'do it all' mum. Still is....

What you say about your SIL is the mirror situation of my Sis and her DH. These types of relationships are chosen, not formed, in my opinion. My sister has always been a bit of princess (I am not suggesting that your SiL is one too!) and she chose someone who was happy to in servitude to her. That's how they click. I have never been of that persuasion and always chose partners who I felt on some kind of level with. Except when DC came along it has felt like DP jumped off the see-saw and I have landed on my arse with an almighty bump!

I have no answers. Just wanted to say that I relate to what you saying.

financialnightmare Tue 28-May-13 15:03:58

I often wonder what we (women) could all achieve if our minds weren't so full of the minutiae of running families.

So true. sad

It makes me so sad that I started adult life at university - prize student with a First Class degree - so hopeful and optimistic and such a feminist. But it all comes down to lactation and shit and wiping fucking worksurfaces. hmm Sometimes I feel like telling my daughters not to bother with education. By the time I'm free from child-rearing I'll just be capable of sitting down and doing a wordsearch.

flanbase Tue 28-May-13 15:11:25

I'm much more capable from having children. I know that others in rl don't see it like this but it's true. I've achieved much more since having kids

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 15:55:55

curry your last post made me sad.
I simply couldn't cope with life as it is now (difficult child job biggish house and pre teen dd) without dh helping me as much as he does.
I do sometimes feel a bit guilty and a bit of a failure if he has to help when he's tired from shift work or misses something he wants to do.
I remind myself that how I feel dates back to years if conditioning that its my job as a female.
Your dh sounds like my ex who would rather be aggressive or row than help me with his children.
It's horrible.
Having then spent five years as a single parent of 4 I did find it very easy to cope on my own as I had no resentment that my partner wasn't helping so just got on with it.
So his refusal to help is probably making you feel worse.
If he won't change then maybe you should.
Do less,especially for him.
I think nothing now of taking dds out for tea on a busy night so I don't have to cook.
What dh eats if i do this is of no concern to me as is whether he has an ironed or clean uniform.
I married an adult not adopted a child.

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 16:06:05

Ledkr, dp does do a lot but recently there has been so much more because I have been the one trying to buy a house and it was so horribly complicated there was no way we could share it.
I leave before the dcs wake up and he does their breakfast, takes them to the CM, and then he collects them and takes them home before I go back. He washes up a lot more these days, not sure whether he has just noticed this or whether any previous complaints have gone in, but either way it's happening.
It's just the fiddly things. As an aggregate, they take a lot out of me, but individually they are more trouble to pass on than to do, or so it seems - perhaps not.

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 16:12:40

Yes I agree its the little things.
Dh will do what I do (I can hear him hoovering now) but its the school notes or dance exams or uniform needed or talking to our utility company's/sky tv.
Sorry I wasn't saying he was a swine just that my strategy is to make him my lowest priority when I'm overwhelmed.

hm32 Tue 28-May-13 16:19:44

To go against the grain, having a child has simply been a new chapter in life, a new adventure. I have interests outside the home, a job, and my baby. It is a bit manic but it all fits in and I feel so much more grounded than I ever did before. He simply fits in, presenting a few more difficulties (lack of sleep being one!) but also bringing so much joy and happiness. On maternity leave the monotony of motherhood felt like it would swallow me, but with some space to myself each week, and some childcare, that sense of perspective and usefulness returned.

My mother's philosophy was that children should enrich your life, not become it. I spent my childhood going to things she wanted to go to and being polite etc, while in return she stood in the cold and watched me play team sports, took me to Disney movies and other such things. We also trudged along on long country walks with my Dad - it was his thing, so we took part and kept him company. There was a real sense of taking turns, of each person being valued and supported. Hopefully, I will manage to achieve that too as my family grows.

This thread is amazing! Springy I have just laugh out loud that you turned your phone off & thought well if she's dead I've at least had sleep to deal with it....brilliant!
Parenting is so so hard. I have a 3 year old, demanding, controlling, selfish, pushy, unreasonable son & a 14 year old dd the same. Sometimes feel I am pushed & pulled in every direction. My dh thinks because I work part-time everything in the house is my job because 'I only work part-time. I'm up at 6 every day with my son & don't go to bed until I get teenage one off to bed. I'm shattered, reclusive, skint, anxious.
Started a new post as health visitor 6 weeks ago & feel close to cracking up.
Wish I lived in the 1950's & there was no expectations on me smile

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 16:32:07

Poor Clutter. Huge hugs (())

I am often very grateful that my job is sitting at a desk and I can always have a cup of tea or coffee. I don't know what I would do in a job like HV.

fufflebum Tue 28-May-13 16:40:08

Wow I am so pleased to find this thread. I had only said to DH last night that I felt exhausted and burnt out after eight years of parenting. (Have two DC 8 and 5 but have been SAHM and main co ordinator the whole time)

It has got especially bad now husband works away during the week. I want to work but someone has to keep an eye on everything at home as although kids getting more independent they still need quite a lot of physical stuff.

They DO NOT STOP TALKING. It is constant, they are lovely kids- bright and cheerful but I am sick of listening and responding positively to EVERYTHING they say........

Parenting has affected my MH most definitely, I am sure I will look back in time more fondly but at the moment as DH is away I feel it is survival and waiting for them to p* off to bed (not every day but a lot more than is probably helpful!)

springymater Tue 28-May-13 17:42:09

when my kids were little we lived in a tall house. I was on the top floor - I heard them clomping up the stairs and I hid in the wardrobe. I was desperate for peace.

I was also completely manic about bedtimes. I needed that time so desperately and I couldn't have any mucking about. They had to go to bed and that was that. I was not a nice mummy if they came down. NOt horrible, just not nice at all

While I was cooking their supper, I also got squiffy on cooking sherry on a few occasions - yes, that old chestnut. Realised it was getting out of control and stopped.

Here's the biggest confession (probably why my kids are so vile): I left ds downstairs to eat his breakfast before school. You know how mornings have to be executed with military precision. he was at the table in his sleeping bag ( hmm ). I got myself suitable (ie not in pyjamas) and came downstairs, expecting all to be done and us practically out the door - time was tight. He was staring into space, breakfast not eaten. 'What are you doing?' I said - 'I was waiting for you to push in my chair' he said. At which I threw a chair through the window [crushed with guilt for ever and ever and ever on that one]

Mind you, it shows I was right at the very very end of my endurance. You have to hide this stuff and carry on. You have to carry on even when you're dead physically, emotionally, psychologically.

I heard the joke -
How do you know Jesus was a woman?
She rose from the dead.

thebestpossibletaste Tue 28-May-13 17:44:29

springymater, can identify with that - I remember hiding from my eldest when she was about three in the converted attic - only briefly but I desperately need two minutes away from the constant asking "Why", arguing, whining and tantrums.

thebestpossibletaste Tue 28-May-13 17:47:22

When my youngest was born, my eldest was 13 and VERY difficult. I don't know how I survived. My eldest dd rebelled big time at the same time my youngest dd was starting with toddler tantrums and still not sleeping through the night. My solution was in the end to go to work and put youngest in nursery. I managed that for a year and loved getting to work and just putting my family out of my mind and getting on with work. Unfortunately my eldest then started self-harming and I felt I had to be home again to keep an eye on things and be there for her, so I stopped working.

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 17:49:12

I'm not sure this was the right place for you to post that.
We are using this as a safe place to admit we feel a bit crap.
I could have written your exact post 3 years ago as my other four were very calm adaptable children who literally just fitted in around my life.
However dd2 has been a very different experience.
Born with medical problems and a very strong personality she has turned my life upside down.
Fitting in with our life simply wasn't an option.
She needs routine and an awful lot if attention.
If she even misses a nap my life will be a misery all day and night.
With respect one soundingly easy baby is hardly comparable to some of the people on here who are struggling.
Great that you are finding it so positive but some of us aren't.

springymater Tue 28-May-13 17:54:52

When my first was little, i couldn't cope with her. she was - and still is - very demanding. I got a job in fashion retail. I put her with a childminder. dd was horrified and refused to speak to me for a week. She was about 18 months at the time. I lost weight, looked glam, and forgot I was a mum for a few days a week. All my wages went on childcare and taxi to and fro. It was worth it. I always had the same taxi driver and he played lovely music. I remember Gypsy Kings full blast and I felt alive and in the land of the living - that music always brings back a sense of freedom for me.

springymater Tue 28-May-13 18:03:14

re Gypsy Kings - a sense of freedom tinged with guilt, it has to be said.

mercury7 Tue 28-May-13 18:05:56

I still feel a bit guilty about all the freedom I have with my delightfully empty nest

DD was a lovely placid baby.

She's, erm, rather challenging now (she's 4, tbf) there was about six months where crossing the road in the 'wrong' place (where she wanted to cross was difficult with the pushchair) resulted in such epic tantrums I would have to drag her by the sleeve the rest of the way home/out. Twice a day. Every day.

I can hear her right now having a tantrum because she wants to see me and I am having a rest (dh is home) because I'm ill.

This is the relentless part to me. How can I feel rested when I can hear her stropping?

mercury7 Tue 28-May-13 18:26:55

I remember that feeling of rising panic that I'd get if they started to bicker when they were little.

Even now (with them early and mid 20's) I feel anxious if I'm with them both, if they argue I feel like crying

springymater Tue 28-May-13 18:27:37

I don't. I've done my time!

My kids are currently horrific but there is a huge part of me that is so glad they're off somewhere in the blue yonder. I've had a breakdown over it (back to MH theme) but I'm also glad I don't have to deal with their shit. Other people are dealing with their shit, from what I've heard. I know they're safe - or as safe as they can be, if you like - which is a huge relief. I can wash my hands. I can't wash my heart, that's another thing altogether....

When they moan and complain and snipe like entitled little shits , I think 'get over yourselves! I gave you everything I had, down to my boots. I scraped the cupboard bare to the very bare bones. What more do you want??' If what I did isn't good enough, then too bad. They're bloody lucky they got me, tbf.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Tue 28-May-13 18:36:58

I agree with ledkr: this really is not the thread to come and say you've got it cracked, hm32. I feel a bit guilty having posted on here when I see how much harder some other posters have it, but I feel immensely relieved (as well as a bit sad) to see that I'm not alone and others are struggling too.

I think PND is probably over-diagnosed: it's a real and serious thing but I suspect a lot of women are told they have it when they're actually reacting rationally to the crap hand life has dealt them and the fact that wider society puts no value on caring work (and even denies that it is work at all).

MacMac123 Tue 28-May-13 18:38:10

Curry love the bit about Mentally totting up the workloads!!

Hm32 I think most of us here have more than one child, am I right in thinking you have one? I felt similarly to you when I had one.

Now I have two, and the eldest is starting school. It's different. The coordination if it all along with now being in a bigger house, working etc. It's not so simple.

mercury7 Tue 28-May-13 18:39:54

Springy, perhaps it's more of a feeling of surprise that life can feel so relaxed, I think I coped with having kids by digging in and lowering my expectations of life.

I do feel that I 'ought' to no longer have a duty of care for them, but it feels like I'm going against the tide in a culture where people live with their parents for so long.
My son maintains that all his mates live with their folks, he often tells me that he thinks he's not eating well, I think he lives in hope that I'll show up to his place with a duster in one hand and frying pan in another.
I do go and see him but I ignore the mess..he probably spends half an hour making it messier before I get there.
I dont know why he has that attitude, surely anyone can see I am all out of maternal instinct confused

whosiwhatsit Tue 28-May-13 18:40:19

Well I am a "career woman" with no children as I met my husband later in life and am now not physically well enough to have children. I was almost in tears coming home from work on the train today because there was a group of little girls on their way home from a school day out and they were just so adorable and sweet and made me wish so much I had been able to have a child. This after my colleague going through loads of pictures of his own children today and telling me all about how wonderful and amazing they are. I felt happy for him but at the same time ... well it's hard not to feel a bit worthless sometimes.

To be honest this thread has helped me feel a bit better about my own situation. Not at all that I am happy to read about others unhappiness but just to know that things are not all rosy on the other side of the fence.

I suppose there's no such thing as a perfect life, there's only trying to make the best of what we've got.

springymater Tue 28-May-13 18:42:59

It's back to school ledkr - answer the q.

You wouldn't get a mark for that answer wink

springymater Tue 28-May-13 18:45:12

oh no! hm32 I meant!

See, you can see why I got my parenting totally wrong can't you.

mercury7 Tue 28-May-13 18:49:26

is it harder do you think if you have 'a life' before children, I mean a good job, a good income etc.
I had children in my early 20's, early on in a relationship, naively didnt really think about the consequences.

Had I been in my 30's with more to loose I'm not sure if I'd have even wanted children...surely this will be the case more and more as women wait a bit before having a family.
Lots will weigh it up and think 'nah..whats in it for me?'

springymater Tue 28-May-13 18:49:41

I would love to be welcome with a duster and a frying pan! I specifically had to rein in all that maternal stuff went they went to uni. When pfb wasn't eating properly at dance school, I seriously considered sending frozen meals through the post. I knew I couldn't do that but I so wanted to.

ungrateful little brats my kids

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Tue 28-May-13 18:53:26

whosiwatsit, sorry to hear you're having a hard time. We're all trapped in different ways: the narrative that you've failed if you don't have children is as pernicious as the one that having children should be marvellously fulfilling and if it isn't...you've failed. Basically it's a Daily Mail world where a woman's place is in the wrong pretty much whatever.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Tue 28-May-13 18:57:54

Interesting point, Mercury7. I was 35 when DS was born, and although I've found it tough and I'm completely unsuited to it (had him to please DH, who thankfully is a great parent) I think I would have fallen to pieces altogether if I'd had him in my 20s. Having an established career and a reasonable income makes it manageable in a way it wouldn't have been when I was a young trainee.

whosiwhatsit Tue 28-May-13 19:03:13

Thanks, Dogs, I think you're right and that life is pretty tough for most women no matter what our situations are w.r.t. having children or being childless. There's always going to be someone or something telling us we're not good enough no matter what we do, and that can either come from society, the media, or a nagging voice inside that something isn't right. And mostly I'm fairly satisfied i suppose but we all have our moments.

Mercury, I've thought this a few times. I was pregnant with my dd at 20 & had her a month after my 21st. I found her a breeze. It was like I was playing house & it was a but if a game. It was novel to put a wash on ' hang all her little clothes out on the line. He was a great baby & everyone oohed and Ahhed & I loved every minute. I rented my flat, went to college to do child care & got a bursary. I had money which was great. I still saw my friends & had a life & my daughter fitted in with me. I then did my nursing degree, bought a house, got married & had my son with a 10 year gap.

I have really really struggled with my son as we are crippled with mortgage payments. I now wish I ha ha fun in my 20's instead of playing house. It not waited 10 years & my children were closer in age.

My auntie went travelling all round the world in her 20's and waited until she was 35 & 37 to have her boys. It hit her hard, she really struggled during those first few years as her life changed so much. Her boys are now 10 & 8 & she has managed to push herself out but for a while she went under with it all.

MiniTheMinx Tue 28-May-13 19:09:09

but mercury7 you have done your time, you deserve to enjoy your new freedom.

Isn't that something else though, sometimes we can't, admitting that you are glad its all done can make you feel guilty, simply because we are not meant to feel that way. Well maybe lots of women do but don't say.

The very bleakest time for me was when both dcs went back into school. I lost the sense of purpose and just became "mummy" again. I hate the school runs, I dislike the school making demands on my time, I can't abide following rules, I hate receiving begging letters from the head for money for things I think are a waste. I dislike having to stand in the playground and make small talk when I would rather just say "this is shit really, other things I'd rather do, other places I could be"

When we did Home ed I enjoyed my children, the freedom we all had to pick and choose how we spent the day. When they went into school I counted the hours. Maybe it was because I finally got some quiet time and just wanted more. I don't know. But I would stare out of the window wishing I could walk and walk and walk and never return.

Given another life, I would have no ties to anyone but by children, we would pack a bag and go. Its not parenting I hate but having to parent in the way that is expected by society. Its the pressures to fit in and smile, be on time, join the PTA, look neat, pay bills, service husband grin, cook fish fingers, keep the peace, entertain.

mercury7 Tue 28-May-13 19:12:15

I suppose there are pro's and cons whichever decade you choose to have kids in...and no way of knowing how things would have turned out had you remained childless.

I may have really fu(ked up my life big time had I not children to tie me down in my 20's and 30's, when I look back I was pretty dumb at that ageblush so who knows confused

Yeah agreed mercury, I was on a bad path, wrong guy, parting, drink & drugs & my dd totally transformed me. I sort of became the person that my family had tried to help me become. I got the courage to leave a very abusive partner & my dd really helped me to find my way. I think I need to remember that! smile


Oh gosh, yes, OP, absolutely.

financialnightmare Tue 28-May-13 19:52:16

whosiwhatsit: I think it's good to see that the grass isn't greener. I envy my child-free friends. The depressing thing is, I always wanted children. I would have gone crazy if I hadn't had them. And now I have them, I am just unhappy. For like, 20 years... I feel awful about it. I'm probably a totally shit person. I'm happy to accept that conclusion. But it doesn't change how I feel.

I drink too much as well. Valium has always been 'mother's little helper'.... now I suspect it's cheap red wine...

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 20:02:23

whos sorry about your situation. Don't think I'm not gratefull for my chikdren because I am. I hope you find some peace in what you have been dealt x
springy my older boys are often a worry for me stil. Two are fairly addicted to weed and are mostly wasting their lives stoned in dead end jobs (ds3 is a great chef but stays in a job way beneath him) I'm always worried for them.
Ds2has kidney failure and even in his 20s needs a fair amount of support with appointments and finances. I have to remind him about medication etc.
Exhausted isnt the world and now bedtime is going tits up.
I would like to drink every night but I know I'd be an alcoholic within weeks.

siblingrivalry Tue 28-May-13 20:03:50

Every time I come back to this thread, there is more and more that resonates with me.

The poster who threw a chair through the window - I can COMPLETELY understand how you get to that stage; I have felt it many, many times.

The dds still talk about the time I went into the kitchen, closed the doors and screamed at the top of my lungs because I was so bloody sick of the demands and whinging.

I am also sorry for you all, because it's so hard to feel lonely and isolated when you are struggling.

Shakey1500 Tue 28-May-13 20:13:00

Coming back to this thread...

Just me then on the "standing stock still frozen with fear while DS is running and there's a sight hazard"? wink

curry I feel your pain and am angry for you. I get it. DH is seemingly incapable of picking up a phone, he is computer/email illiterate therefore 100% of anything admin-y is dealt with by me. I have bought two houses for us, rented out one, changed all utilities. I could go on but you get the gist. Anything that needs sorting out is done by me. Added on to everything else child related.

Curryeater's posts particularly resonate with me.
The sheer boredom of the first years.
The exhaustion.
The anger towards dh.

Our dc are now 10 and 8, and gosh things do improve massively. And for us they started to get better when we moved back to Italy where our friends and family live.

Isolation is a parent's worst enemy.

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 20:16:48

This thread humbles me. thank you all for such great writing about such very difficult things.

I know work has been very good for me. I struggle to fit everything in but I know it would be worse without work to go to. I went back to work when dc1 was 9 months and the relief I felt the first time I left her with the CM was incredible. I walked back home with the empty pram, marvelling and boggling and feeling strange and apprehensive but very very light. It turned out that she got on very well at the CM's very quickly, and 2 days with dp went ok too, so I had this incredible sense of not being this irreplaceable fulcrum and it was marvellous.

I am grateful to the poster who said first about the anger and resentment of her dp because I think one of the things that is gradually becoming clearer to me is that anger is something that hurts the angry one. So to be made to be angry is to be hurt. You cannot choose not to be angry with a constant irritant in the way that you can choose not to be annoyed by a dickhead on the train. Then, my dp treats my anger as a violent act against him, and punishes me for that.

So the whole thing evolves into a 3-part psychic injury: first, the actual injustice; second, the anger I live with which hurts me and holds me back; third, the punishment I must receive for my anger.
I think this is at the root of a lot of my problems.

moonfacebaby Tue 28-May-13 20:20:00

So much on this thread resonates with me too....

For me, these days, it's how bored I am & how guilty I feel for being irritable with my DC.

My marriage ended last year, due to ExH affair. The sheer terror at being a single parent was engulfing - until I realised how much I did & how little he did. He wasn't awful but sometimes I just felt so pissed off that I had to think of everything & he just went to work (which when I went back after having DD1, it was frankly, a bloody doddle in comparison to looking after her).

Now, I realise that in some ways, it's easier - I am responsible for everything, so I don't get wound up by the lack of support he gave me. But, in doing everything - I don't achieve anywhere near as much as I'd like - my garden is an embarrassing jungle, DD1 sometimes doesn't complete all of her reading homework & I feel like I'm treading water with the housework.

I don't work - I'm desperate for a job, but I'm struggling to find part-time teaching work. I need & crave adult company so much.

I have a new man, which is great. But it's like I don't belong in any group these days - my friends have their family time & the time with the new man is spent around people who don't have kids. I get a taste of what it could be like to be free of the grind & I'm ashamed to say that I don't miss my kids at all when their dad has them.

I love them dearly. My life is lacking in balance & trying to get a life whilst having limited funds & babysitters & a partner to share it all - it's tough.

I get time to be me - I'm lucky. I do get lie-ins. But I miss having someone to share the kids with - share the parenting, the days out.

The kids are lovely - DD1 though is relentless in not taking no for an answer - grinds you down. DD2 is coming up to the terrible twos & I hated that time with DD1 - the thought of coping on my own makes me so bloody depressed at times.

And yes to the guilt - I'm far more shouty since being a single parent than I ever was. I feel inadequate, trapped & there are times when I feel like I didn't sign up for this......

Chippedandstained Tue 28-May-13 20:20:37

I have three boys, a just-four year old and two and a half year old twins. I had a tricky pregnancy both times, after gruelling ivf and a tricky delivery which literally nearly killed me. I'm in my 40s and come to all this late, and I'm exhausted despite having help.
It's the relentlessness, the monotony, the being outnumbered all the time that gets to me. I would love to take my children on lovely activities etc but they run off in opposite directions. I feel constantly judged because of the way I manage them. I say manage because that's what it is. The lack of empathy I feel from other parents still knocks me sideways. Eg group play dates at the swimming pool - cant do it. Play date at the natural history museum - how? How? My twins would have to be strapped in a buggy all day, let alone the thought of the tube with a double pram.
Many of my mum- friends had a more sensible gap so they are just on baby#2. They can meet, their 4 year olds play nicely, the babies sit on the floor. But we don't get invited as much because instead of a baby on the floor, it's twins running round at full tilt.
My husband works long hours but he's well liked and respected, and there is variety in his job. Pre kids I had an equally successful career which medical issues will prevent me returning to. So unless I retrain, this SAHM thing is as good as it gets.
My children squabble and fight all the time to the point that I can't even turn my back on my 4 year old as he is hell bent on hurting his brothers. I feel so terrible that I'm wishing away the time till they're all in school/nursery but it has to be better than this as all anyone gets now is the burnt out dregs.
They wake at 6 without fail and on Sunday I had all 3 whilst MrChipped had a lie in. I couldn't let them into the garden as they make a huge racket so they were all in the house with me. One of my twins is very clingy and just wants to be touching me All The Time and after over two hours of being dragged at, I lost the plot and ran upstairs to my husband to tell him I couldn't cope. I started slamming the door and I just couldn't stop. I scared myself. DH shouted that I was a useless mother and told me to leave but I went to bed and cried myself to sleep. To his credit DH left me there and sorted the house and the kids and we had a talk. I'm on v low dose citalopram but I'm going back to get the dose raised. I've never been like this before. I was shit hot at my job, very senior and now I can barely string a sentence together. I love my boys with every fibre and its a huge relief to read this thread and be able to express how frigging hard it is!!!

fufflebum Tue 28-May-13 20:23:15

I am so reassured to hear others feel the same as me. Sometimes I think what my life might have been like without my kids. I never really wanted children and ironically I am the only one among my friends who has. Oh the irony.

Like many other poster I had a responsible and well paid job, a life, I used to travel. How did the highlight of my week be a da a TV show is on!

Like another poster said I do not even look forward to weekends now as to be honest it is like any other working day. Me the kids and DH home but me still parenting-dealing with squabbles and shouting etc!

I feel so obliged to care for them, but no one else does! You feel beyond exhausted almost without feeling .....

Chippedandstained Tue 28-May-13 20:27:31

I too hate weekends. Same shit, less childcare and playground and I also have to factor in DHs wishes. When his wishes include changes to The Routine I go bananas!
And I drink too much. And I don't care enough about it to do anything because the thought of not bring able to defragment each evening with a glass of wine, is scary.

financialnightmare Tue 28-May-13 20:27:55

So true about the weekends. When I get to work and I'm asked my child-free colleagues: "How was the weekend?" I just want to say: "The same shitty grind as every other weekend." hmm

Chippedandstained Tue 28-May-13 20:27:59

*playgroups not playground

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 20:29:34

Just a thought but we could all move to another thread after this one for support.
We could share positive stories (if they happen) and exchange tips.
I'm going to try and make life more enjoyable. I had bloody cancer years ago so I should be enjoying my life.
I decided today after this thread that what would really help is a cleaner.
We aren't rich but I'm thinking twenty pounds a week to have my hoovering done and bathrooms wiped over.
Good idea?

financialnightmare Tue 28-May-13 20:31:06

Yes Ledkr. What exactly are we saving for, anyway? Better to have slightly more bearable life now than a cruise when we're sixty (if we're not dead or in prison...). smile

raggedymum Tue 28-May-13 20:31:39

Thanks, dozer, I keep trying to tell myself stuff like that, but it is hard to believe! And I find myself not taking opportunities, because I see something and think, well, pre-baby ragged could have done that, but I just don't have the mental capacity. Although apparently it is my feelings of competence and not ambition that are affected -- I had a review yesterday where I found myself asking about promotion! So maybe as long as I keep 'pretending' things will be okay...

I'm an introvert too, but at 13mo DD doesn't quite seem like a person yet, so when I'm with her I still feel 'alone'. I imagine that won't last much longer.

mini that's something I'm worried about, school. I also hate rules, and DH can get really mad at stuff, and I find I'm trying to explain something I don't believe in just to keep him in check. I've talked about home ed with DH, but more in the sense of 'something we probably couldn't do'. I think I could probably handle it, but since I'm the one with a job, I won't have the time. DH is finishing his degree, but health issues mean he will likely never work more than part-time, so I really have to keep my career going to support us.

Chubfuddler Tue 28-May-13 20:31:42

I have to say an awful lot of you sound as though your do called partners are the problem. You've no idea how much less stressful it is to be a single parent.

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 20:32:14

Great idea Ledkr (both of them)

Well done for beating cancer, you are a force to be reckoned with - don't let a bit of red hair get to you! wink

Shakey1500 Tue 28-May-13 20:33:27

Good idea ledkr for a dedicated thread. Earth mothers barred wink

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 20:34:26

Very true about weekends. Every Sunday night I could weep with the feeling of not having had a break or a rest.
Dh works most if them and Sundays dd1 goes to her dads so Sundays are bloody awful just me and a two year old. Nothing to do nobody to speak too. I feel depressed just thinking of it.
I'm often joyfull at the knowledge of a local fete I can attend.
How feckkng pitifull is that?
I made a promise to go out Saturday evenings but I'm too tired.

Chippedandstained Tue 28-May-13 20:34:38

Ooo a mad mums quiche! grin

Cleaner is a great idea.

fufflebum Tue 28-May-13 20:35:15

I can hear my you youngest cough, cough, coughing as I type as we are on our millionth cold this year. They do not even leave you alone when they have gone to bed!

I cannot believe how I got to this point, sometimes when DH gets home at the end of the week I would like to hand them over and leave for a week away. I have dedicated my life to these kids and I really have very little contact with old friends any more so this is it.

I have told DH but it falls on deaf ears, he is a kind man and listens and listens but I bore myself sometimes!! Then the next day off he goes, and I am left to get on with it.

I have frightened myself with my temper on occasions as my real thoughts must bubble up. I do seem to have a running commentary in my head sometimes about what I would like to say but stop myself (most times) as it is not the children's fault.

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 20:35:47

Yeah no bloody guilt either or smuggers grin

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 20:36:20

I want to come back to this partners thing, Chubfuddler.
And Pirhana.

You can ltb - but it hasn't come to that for me (yet). Is that what you are suggesting, Chub?

Or you can do as Pirhana says - but you can't. You may not acknowledge this, but you are doing what you do with your dp by agreement. It is not the shouting "you are not doing your job!" that is the magic bullet - it is the agreement in the first place that part of his job is to securely get you a certain amount of peace and quiet. If you don't have that, it doesn't matter how many ear plugs you get or how many incisive terms of phrase you use, you just don't have the contract to invoke. It's the contract, not the invocation.

So are we back to ltb?

Would rather not.

fufflebum Tue 28-May-13 20:37:59

Now DH works away realise ow much I did and actually it is easier without him tbh.

Have threatened to leave but to where and with what!

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 20:39:10

if we do have a quiche with a quiche-name and everything please please please please can we not have "mums" in the title. I would rather be a Deranged Mother of Psychic Hell than any sort of "mum". "mums" as a collective noun makes me want to rampage around with a splurge gun that shoots sudocrem.

springymater Tue 28-May-13 20:41:54

When my kids were little they went to a state nursery. they only had the place for the year. After the summer holidays (please.help.me.God), I tipped up at the nursery. They said 'you don't have a place this year'. I just looked at them. They must have seen the despair because they took my kids.

And the staggered entry to reception ! ! ! FFS! What the FUCK are we supposed to do with a staggered entry! All day, every day, please. My smallest ds was born in September and was desperate for f/t school when the time came. He was staggered until fucking December ffs. Which HUGELY frustrated us both angry

With my youngest I had PND. I remember the agony of sitting with him and playing aeroplanes. I just couldn't do it but had to do it. It truly was the most agonising thing.

Shakey1500 Tue 28-May-13 20:44:01

When I decided to return to acting when DS was about 7months old I can't tell you the relief. Heading out for rehearsals meant I positively skipped down the road. Oh, and to have a drink in the pub afterwards like a normal person shock It was well worth the bags under the eyes.

Truth be told, the older DS gets) there are to reach. It is slightly easier. I say slightly as unbeknownst to me (at least) no-one TELLS you about the "other" gazillion milestones (aside from walking/talking. Each set is just replaced with another confused

I mentioned this on another thread but blush I used to count how many years were left until DS was 18. So when he was 2 I was thinking "RIGHT, I only (arf) have to do this x8 more times until he's 18...."

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 20:45:13

The sentence I have in my head for next time dp starts to tell me everything that is wrong with me is, "so just leave, and send money. goodbye" I think he knows this as we have not spoken this evening and I don't think we will.

On some level he "knows" - not properly consciously knows, but sort of "knows" - that I hold him together, that he is benefiting from my labour. he told me a story about a single man who died and left a filthy flat full of bottles and loneliness and squalor and talked about a "fear of ending up like that". Why? what fear? If every fucker in the world hated me I would have a clean and tidy flat and my insurance policies in labelled, alphabetical files. If I had no family - the "alone" he fears - my clothes would be hung up in order of season and hue and I would have a fucking window box with herbs in it and I would play cards and be in choirs and sew and read every book in the world. Yes, I would drink a bit too much sometimes, but not too often, because I would be sleeping and eating properly and would take care of myself and my home. I know this, because I have lived alone and that was what it was like. When he shared this fear I knew that on some level he knows that my time, my labour, is between him and chaos and squalor, and it is diminishing me.

Chubfuddler Tue 28-May-13 20:45:31

Well I left mine, although there was worse than just leaving me to it with the children constantly (although he did - funny how much time he had to spend working at weekends - avoiding family responsibilities basically).

I'm sorry if you think "leave the bastard" is a MN cliche, which it seems you do. I just find it depressing how much of a MN cliche it is that there are intelligent, capable women wearing themselves into the ground whilst life carries on for their partners as if the children were hardly even there.

jollyhappy Tue 28-May-13 20:47:33

THanks so much for starting this post. I have put on my computer and this is a godsend.

I struggle with 2 children and am on mat leave.

I find by about 4pm each day I am completely exhausted.

DH works long hours and really does not get that I need a break at all.

Today I am sick so I let both children go to bed at 5pm - even though I know I will pay later. I then try get sleep.

DH comes home at 7.30 pm even though I was begging him to take an emergency leave day since yesterday and he knows I have not slept a wink last night.

Guess what - he is asleep!

So no housework - I'm so so exhausted.

springymater Tue 28-May-13 20:48:27

(sorry about my random posts not linked in any sense to the direction of the thread. it is so good to get this shit out!)

Apparently, my mother, when I was a baby (I was born with another baby), begged my dad not to leave her and go to work. We were 4th and 5th children. The other 3 went to aunts and grandmas for about a month. This was back in the day.

My dad said today that when I was a baby, I never had a dirty nappy. I asked him who washed all those cloth nappies that there was no need for him to change so regularly. He looked at me blankly.

Shakey1500 Tue 28-May-13 20:50:11

Perhaps we could call the thread

"Is it 18o'clock yet?"

jollyhappy Tue 28-May-13 20:50:35

springymater I read on mn that they can not force you to have a staggered reception you can insist your child goes from day 1 at normal school hours.

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 20:50:54

Chub, I don't think "ltb" is just a silly cliche and have argued passionately in its favour on here.
One of my friends has recently ltb and I am really happy for her.
I honestly think that some men are just programmed to expect women to serve them and if you find yourself with one there is nothing you can do but ltb. I harbour the hope that not only does that give the individual woman some freedom, but works towards a changed situation where men recognise that they have to deserve relationships by being nice.

However I am still resisting that my bastard has to be left.

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 20:52:11

jollyhappy, you don't sound it if you don't mind me saying so.

jollyhappy Tue 28-May-13 20:56:57

Thank you for the warm welcome smile

I am going to wake up DH and insist he help me out more!

I am going to insist he take some days off work just so I can go and get a hair cut and go the doctors and go for a swim and read a book.

I know it will only be a temporary fix and I know he can't have both of them as I am bfing so he won't really know how tough it is but I am sick of asking for help and not getting it.

we have no other family help. Sick sick sick of it and I'm going to do something about it. My mental health is not worth risking anymore.

springymater Tue 28-May-13 20:59:02

<eyeballs/ears/nose/moustache pop out of head like mrs potato woman at the injustice of not knowing about (or it not being available back then) the Human Right to be a staggered entry refuser>

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 20:59:05

Good for you, jollyhappy.
I remember those bfing days. Begging for help for a hair cut. Getting a cold and panicking about how bad it might get.

springymater Tue 28-May-13 21:00:30

btw, it doesn't end at 18 o'clock.

Just saying.

fufflebum Tue 28-May-13 21:00:58

Why do we carry on?

We should own tools and start a revolution!

Shakey1500 Tue 28-May-13 21:02:00

NOOOOO! Don' tell me that! <sticks fingers in ears lalalalalala>

I'm bloody relying on that wink

fufflebum Tue 28-May-13 21:02:26

Springymater you are so right!

My youngest has been coughing on and off or the last hour- is there any
point going to bed!

clearsommespace Tue 28-May-13 21:03:52

I agree with Chubfuddler. A lot of the problem seems to come from partners.
Sometimes I feel mine doesn't pull his weight but either it isn't as unbalanced as in some of your homes or it doesn't affect me in the same way. I don't know which.

I also agree that it can be so much down to personality of DCs.
One of ours has a strong personality and also likes to spend time at home. So many times when there's something interesting on nearby and it wasn't that DCs idea to go, the child will fly into a rage when it's time to stop whatever we're up to and get ready to out. Of course, when we're out they'll usually have a whale of a time but it's so much effort to get out that I often I don't just bother. DH and the other child are usually happy to potter at home and there are so many places we have to go: school, grandparents etc that I save my energy for those occasions. I'm wondering if this is what has turned me into a homebody.

Anyway, I'm not sure I belong on here because despite the above, I mostly find my children easy and a joy. I've had my moments of feeling like tantrumming and actually tantrumming, but the feelings don't linger. I'd actually forgotten about some of it until I read this thread. But I agree that it would be very helpful to many to have a more permanent thread than one in chat.

financialnightmare Tue 28-May-13 21:06:49

Curry: Mine also with the life-falling-apart.

I left him, and his life fell apart. We share the kids 50/50 (beucase he promised he would never send money, and has been true to his word).

Now he pays for cleaners / gardeners / cooks / electricians / therapists. Because I did it all, obviously. I'm fine, thanks, and yes, everything is ordered, the evenings are quiet, and everything is neatly dusted. I have a nice new man but I am soooo wary of being needed by anyone else, that I have no desire to upset my equilibrium.

I don't miss the children when they aren't with me. I just tidy and enjoy the quiet.

springymater Tue 28-May-13 21:09:10

Begging for help for a hair cut. Getting a cold and panicking about how bad it might get

Sorry, curry , but that just ain't right...

I get so scared of being ill now as I know I wont get a break no matter how crappy I feel. Dh on the other hand recently had 8 days in bed, uninterupted, as he had a bad stomach. I had the same thing a week later, and was allowed a morning (and that was with DS1 jumping on me and asking for me to play, and having to 'just watch the baby for a min'.

I'm so glad this thread was started, will go back now and read the whole thread, and if I can gather the few braincells I have left together to make a coherant post I will..

I just wish someone had warned me how it could be, I feel a bit short changed sad

jollyhappy Tue 28-May-13 21:15:26

springymater I only know about how you can refuse staggered entry because I went searching when I heard about it as it sounded so ridiculous and my oldest is a year from starting!

This is a fab thread.
I wish I had found something like it during the first year of DS life.
How I coped with that year I will never know.
I have mostly blocked it out.

mercury7 Tue 28-May-13 21:20:28

I don't miss the children when they aren't with me.
same here, I split with their father when they were young, we had a shared care arrangement and I didnt miss them when they weren't with me.
I dont miss them now, I feel upset if they are suffering in any way and I want to talk to them and will try and help, but (except when I was breastfeeding) I've never pined for them or felt a need to see them.

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 21:20:47

It is a bit of a popular attitude tho. The old LTB.
I often suggest it to posters as well.
However having LTB twice over and become a lp and also seeing the detrimental effect on the children I'm not sure it's always the easy way out if you are already struggling with parenthood.
Ultimately when you do LTB it's because you decide to and not because some stranger on the Internet tells you to.
This thread is not about our relationships it's about us struggling with our feelings about being parents.
When we start the thread we will make the title cryptic so as not to get judged or told off.

MorrisZapp Tue 28-May-13 21:21:22

Hello, my people. Aaaah, that's nice. <pulls up comfy chair>

I probably made the wrong choice when sitting there in the last chance saloon aged 38, but hey ho. Here we are and here it is.

I do all that counting time away stuff, but not til age 18. I'm aiming for age 5 first. At that age, he won't be crying getting his teeth brushed, tantrumming because I won't let him lie down on the road, etc etc. I hope.

Also, once they're old enough to stay overnight with others without the military operation, I look forward to waving him an airy goodbye and then watching three episodes of Lewis with egg yolk running down my chin.

PGL holidays anybody? When do they kick in? I only have one kid, and we both work. Money no object. I'm already outsourcing toilet training and table manners. That nursery are doing a sterling job bringing the young master up, and my time is priceless. Beyond rubies.

bigkidsdidit Tue 28-May-13 21:22:26

I can identify with l;ots of these posts. I too am an introvert and find the constant climbing on me and need for attention very difficult. The only thing that has saved me is I work full time. I'm not stopping even though next year we could probably afford me to drop days; I need my space at my computer in peace.

Whenever I read posts on MN about how fed up women are people always jump up and say 'are you depressed, go to your GP' and I thrink 'she's not depressed, looking after children is shit, it's relentless and boring and isolating!'

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 21:23:36

trucks I went to Disney Paris with dd1 when dd2 was five months.
We went back again under two years later and I had hardly any recollection of it shock
Even the rides seemed scarier than the first time.
I must have been numb.

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 21:28:32

About begging for help to get a hair cut and panicking about how I will manage with a cold - that is not now. That was when I was on mat leave with a tiny bf baby, or baby + toddler. Now I ponce off to London to drink coffee and sit at a computer and get my hair cut in a fabled thing called a "lunch hour" (I don't get them often, like sick days, but when I am desperate I get them, and by god it makes a difference)

dp did not support me enough when they were tiny because he didn't grasp the enormity and I had not worked out ways to get him to support me when was bfing day and night

bigkidsdidit, I agree and I am resisting ADs myself. and I think there is something creepy and misogynist about the answer to so many women being unhappy in such similar ways being a pill

I don't want this thread to disappear. I think there is some great stuff on .

and it is inspiring. Thinking about how things could be changed, certain things could change right now if I can work out some strategies

MrsRambo Tue 28-May-13 21:30:51

PGL holidays! MorrisZapp grin Do they still do those? I remember my best friend at school being sent away on one of those. She came back with a massive crush on her group leader! She was the youngest of 5. Think her parents had pretty much given up by then.

<runs off to look up minimum age for PGL holidays>

springymater Tue 28-May-13 21:35:59

No question that ADs saved my life at one stage. That was the PND stage (or was it the horrific marriage stage? <thinks>)

I am a huge fan of ADs - at the right time. My recent children-induced-breakdown has meant another foray with ADs, not quite as successful this time. the first lot made me put on 3st but I was so ill I couldn't care (that just shows how ill I was). The 2nd lot have not made me put on weight but gave me lock jaw and made me feel fuzzy. So I still had the tremendous emotional pain but I couldn't grasp it.

There really ought to be an immediate painkiller for emotional pain. Like paracetamol but for the emotions. Legal, that is.

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 21:36:15

Dd1 wouldn't go on PGL. Seems I'm doing too good a fecking job.

Yeah, I agree about the depressed thing. When I stopped bf DS (super clingy, regular waking bottle refuse) I suddenly felt AWESOME.

Am pregnant again 'yay, surprise!' And I'm not bf this time. I'm 26. I got pg with DD at 21. Being pg and bf makes my life so much more difficult. 4 years, out of the last 5.

I'm not doing it this time. Formula is a tiny feminist dream and I'm jumping on it.

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 21:37:17

I often bosh a quick syndol if its all a bit much grin

MiniTheMinx Tue 28-May-13 21:40:06

Ledkr, two brilliant ideas.

I have often wondered if it would be easier without DP. He is a very responsible, mostly amenable, hard working, very caring BUT he lacks intuition, flexibility, creativity and empathy. He can't see when I am struggling, he can't think about the little details, he can't use his initiative and he lacks confidence in his ability to parent the children. He looks to me constantly. Quite honestly I wonder if I could cope with him having the children on his own. I would have too much peace in which to worry anxiously about what terrible thing might happen to them. sad Of course after years of managing the house and everyone in it, I have probably entrenched his sense of being a spare part. It's too difficult to unravel and unthinkable that he could have sole responsibility. I never noticed any flaws in this man until we had children. I keep holding onto the fact that I see glimmers of what I loved under all this crap-a-doodle boring day to day stuff.

Chippedandstained you really have your work cut out with three under five. I left four years between mine (wimped out)

curryeater Tue 28-May-13 21:43:48

"There really ought to be an immediate painkiller for emotional pain." totally.
Ledkr, what is syndol?

Lioninthesun Tue 28-May-13 21:44:16

My ex left whilst I was pg, came back again and then left for good when DD was 6mo. The pg was really hard because of this and I still don't know what was natural hormone madness or him (or both) but I think I went a bit bonkers tbh. I couldn't trust him (he drank a lot and was frequently home late stinking of booze) and it all got to a point I felt I was going to be the most terrible mother as I couldn't even keep him happy. I felt drained emotionally before she was even born!
She was a very high needs baby too - I had to hold her all of the time and she would scream if I sat down! I had to stand and hold her. At one point she fed every 20mins. All through the night. She rarely napped; 20mins at the most. I felt a wreck.
Strangely, although it seems obvious now, as soon as her dad left the picture I felt better almost instantly (after he dragged us to Court which meant waiting 7/8months for the date to come through and a lot of nasty messages/visits and letters from him and his family trying to tip me over the edge so I would drop CSA) I finally got to completely cut him out of my life. He hasn't seen DD since he left when she was 6mo and since the Court in Nov we haven't text/messaged etc. Yes, he can have contact if he wants, in a contact centre but he simply doesn't. He has a new g.f poor cow and is happy blaming his lack of daughter on me being crazy.
I still have anxiety regarding her - dreams of her running off the pavement into the road is the current one. However not having the added stress of someone looking over your shoulder (usually with a negative or sarcastic comment) has really helped. He honestly had me thinking I may actually be chronically depressed obvs not because of him, oh no, this was all down to me being a failure and until I got him out I couldn't see it was simply his arrogance.
After that, I feel very happy every day to have DD all to myself. Yes she drives me bonkers in the morning when she deliberately tips her milk and/or museli all over the table and floor to draw circles in. Yes I wish she would have a little lie in for just once in her life and not wake up at 6am. Yes she headbutts me regularly and still scratches and pinches my armpit fat in public, sometimes to the point it bleeds from scratches <she honed in on the ONE body part I have spent years trying to hide!>. However she also makes me laugh every day. She makes me smile so much. I can't stay angry at her for long, and luckily we have a really close bond with lots of cuddles.
Heaven help me when she turns 11 (or is it 9 that they start becoming teenagers now?) shock

jollyhappy Tue 28-May-13 21:46:13

Can someone explain what a PGL is?

DH now up - and I've had a word and said I can't go on but this is not the first time I have said this to him. DS1 who I let go to sleep far too early is up but DH is dealing with that.

I have just eaten a massive chocolate bar.

sleepingsatellite - your post could have been written by me. I'm thinking about showing my DH this whole thread.

meglet Tue 28-May-13 21:46:28

I live in fear of 3pm on a Friday knowing I have approx 65hrs on my own with the dc's. They are adorable but I'm usually broken by 11am on Saturday morning. Part of me doesn't want to wish away their younger years but I think I will enjoy them being teenagers knowing that I can sleep a little and have some freedom to leave the house without them all the time.

The one thing that I can cope with is eating out together, they can't run off to watch cbeebies, I'm not worried about cooking or making a mess and we can just spend time together with the pressure taken off.

We went on a couple of PGL holidays as children. It was with our parents but they packed us off on acitivites all week while they relaxed. I expect my parents would have been on this thread 30yrs ago grin.

MiniTheMinx Tue 28-May-13 21:47:50

TeWiSavesTheDay Formula is fab (another thing no one is allowed to say) I would have been completely barking had it never been invented.

MacaYoniAndCheese Tue 28-May-13 21:57:46

Parenting has definitely affected my mental health. Anti-depressants got me through the first few years, when they were really small, and I dare not go off them now...my kids are noisy, boisterous, strong-willed, argumentative, extremely physical and just ON all the time. I adore them; they are also bright, funny, talented, industrious and kind but Man, they are bloody hard work and to use an old fashioned phrase, my 'nerves' are shot. Without my meds, I don't think I could cope with the screeching, arguing, bouncing, negotiating, squabbling marathon that is life with my children. I no longer feel overwhelmed sad smile.

NutsinMay Tue 28-May-13 21:58:48

Ledkr "I'm often joyfull at the knowledge of a local fete I can attend"

^^ Brilliant!

I too am scouring the local what's on on a Friday night to see if there's anything going on I can feasibly take my children to at the weekend.Local Farmer's Market?, Car Boot Sale?, Open Day at the Old People's Day Centre?(well they will surely have cake!).

My eldest is easier to take out now on her own (no nappies, no pushchair, no nap etc to worry about and she is old enough to enjoy a museum) but when you are trying to find something that will keep both toddler and a school aged child interested, it can be a challenge.

The year before my eldest went to school was hard as I was dragging her along to rhymetime at the library and stay and play at the children centre and she was starting to out grow it. It's so much easier now I only have the two year old to think about on school days.

And re the poster who said she was asked about her weekend by childfree colleagues- I totally get where you are coming from. Mine always say "Did you have a nice weekend?, Have you got anything nice planned for the weekend" "Doing anything nice" I too want to say "No it was pretty crap actually" . Actually I do often just say "it was tiring" and leave it at that. Once they asked me what I'd got up to over the Easter weekend and you know I couldn't honestly remember.

Also due to the hours I work, some days I leave mid afternoon(in the sunshine) and they say "Enjoy the rest of the afternoon". I just think " I'm now starting the second shift, this is the hardest part of the day. Sadly I'm not going to be lounging around in the sun drinking champagne or doing a bit of light shopping and having afternoon tea with a friend.

Disclaimer: Despite all this- I really do love my children!

Lioninthesun Tue 28-May-13 22:08:25

jolly we used to call PGL Parents Get Lost - my dad used to pack me off for a week or two in the school holidays to do activities which I loved. I assume he was having a similarly good time not having to think of things to keep me busy grin

MacMac123 Tue 28-May-13 22:17:44

Curry it was me who said about the anger. You are so right i your post a while back, as in it only hurts the angry person. This was particularly clear during my row with DP after he'd caught me smirking about the fact he'd struggled to look after the baby and keep the kitchen under control.
He was genuinely amazed and dumbfounded when it became clear to him the underlying anger I had towards him. And that I'd wanted him to fail and struggle that day.
I on the other hand was amazed to discover he wasn't angry with me (outside of that particular row) and doesn't go off to work wishing me a hard day or thinking bad thoughts in the way I do him (well I'd wished him a hard day at home with the baby to somehow 'show' him a glimpse into my world).

So you're right, the real loser all round in that situation was me, the angry one

meglet Tue 28-May-13 22:17:59

macayoni yy to children who are 'on' all the time. Nothing will stop mine. If we watch a film they ask questions every 60 seconds, if something interests them they want to know more. On a bad day it feels like wave after wave of 'attacks' and as I'm on my own I'm always in the line of fire.

nutsinmay DD is a September baby so this last few months before she starts school have almost killed me. She could have sailed into school last September but rules are rules so I've had to muddle through trying to keep her amused these last few months.

I found the year my ds was 2 to 3 so so hard. I phoned my hv nearly in years & she recommended some groups/ playground things. Every playgroup I phoned said they were full until the January when my ds would get his afternoon nursery place. One place said they had a space & to go & visit. When I got there the manager showed me round & then at he end said so we've got your details probably won't have space until January, I could have wept, had to bite my lip.
I enrolled in a peep group which was good & took him to morning playgroup but think he was getting too big.
Was amazing getting him to nursery. I said to my dh that when he is 5 with the money we're saving from childminders we could send him to private school! My teenage dd was like mum, then we'll forever have no money!
I too count down the stages. Thought get to 2 & no more nappies. Get to 3 he calms down & goes to nursery.
I now have 5 weeks left of afternoon nursery, summer hols. Then 1 year of morning nursery.....then.....school.....alleluia alleluia!
I too dread the monotony, boredom, loneliness & trying to amuse lively boy with no money at the weekend.
We have started going back to church on Sunday to break the day up. I keep thinking they are going to ask us not to come back due to ds's behaviour.
He likes to dress up all the time & running away from me is a favourite game. A few weeks ago he went dressed as Thor. Then when the priest was doing communion he started to run away dressed as little mini God. He ran past the alter shouting "you can't catch me"
I could of fucking died. I just ignored him, bowed my head & prayed to Mary to give me strength to mother my crazy boy!
All the old folk seem to live him & come from all the other pews to shake his hand!
My dd was so so easy! X

I am relieved and pleased when my DH gets fed up with the DCs. Particularly if it's DD2 is being a total nightmare because she is a daddy's girl.

I'm not sure he understands or gets why I can reach the end of the day and I can no longer spend another second with any of them. I want him to experience it too because otherwise I'm completely alone, inadequate and isolated.

He gets it more now. Especially after taking a lot of time off over Xmas. He was actually quite sweet about it then which has made a huge difference. But he doesn't understand or can listen to me venting about the DCs. It makes him uncomfortable if I don't sound maternal and loving even if they've been vile. Which is why I then like it if then loses his temper with them.

But there have been some awful low points when I screamed " It's like I'm fucking starving and you're having a roast fucking dinner" when he'd gone back to bed for a nap and I was on my knees after months and months of getting no more than 2 hours sleep on the trot.

springymater Tue 28-May-13 22:48:39

I was living in london when I had my first dc. I didn't know anybody much. I waited all one summer for a playgroup to start in the autumn and when I finally got there in September, the women ignored me totally. I gave them a mouthful and left. I was incensed.

The year my September baby ds had to wait to go to school, I took him to nursery in the morning and another nursery in the afternoon. All year. I was forever hanging around - no point going home - and foisted myself on people. At one point a woman rolled her eyes when she saw me at her door. she had invited me - 'whenever you're near, do drop in!'

I couldn't possibly work that year. There was no way I could get childcare to schlepp all over town with my boy. That was the year I was an unpaid taxi. Well, one of the years I was an unpaid taxi, anyway.

Ledkr Tue 28-May-13 22:57:38

Finally the day ends and I get ready to go up for a possible epic 7 hr sleep and I drop a fecking glass on the fireplace.
Literally on my knees weeping. "Why why can't someone give me a feckkng break for once"
Dh literally gets Hoover and sends me to bed.
I feel mentally ill fgs. Total overreaction or what.
More guilt about him living with a wreck of a woman and that I'm spoiling his parenting experience.

TheOldestCat Tue 28-May-13 23:12:37

Oh goodness, can I join?

I read the OP, jaw dropping with sweet recognition. Parenting is the best and worst of times, all mixed up - oh the sheer exhaustion of the organising/working/feeding/shopping/washing/cleaning (tho not much of the latter round here).

Whoever said it's like being the family PA was spot on. I feel I should do the lion's share because after years of FT work, I'm part time. But I know, for all of DH's exhaustion (he has a hard commute and a stressful FT job), I resent him and I resent it. Competitive tiredness? Passive aggressive mentions of it via the children (DH: 'please stop doing that DD, I've been up since 4:30 for my long commute so I can keep a roof over your head, so blah blah")? Check.

I need a break - I'm always looking after children or doing far over my hours to get the work done or sorting the house admin etc. I drink too much undoubtedly, have put on loads of weight, look an absolute mess and years of broken sleep have taken their toll.

Thanks to all for sharing your experiences on this. And I'm sorry so many of us are feeling like this.

One tip - find your people in real life. I've found some good mates after many years and the relief to have fellow parents who aren't running through meadows Timotei-style with their loveable moppets is IMMENSE.

TheOldestCat Tue 28-May-13 23:24:19

Sorry about the glass, Ledkr - that sort of thing can feel like the shite icing on the crappy cake right?

Not an over-reaction - just another thing on top of many other things. Hope you are having a restorative kip by now.

Dozer Tue 28-May-13 23:42:15

Yes OP, my colleagues (almost all without DC) do that too, politely ask if I had a nice weekend. Maybe should use your line, "lounging around in the sun, drinking champagne, a bit of light shopping and having afternoon tea with a friend." grin

Or maybe " nagging and skulking around trying to avoid DC,drinking cold tea, cooking for DC who'd rather eat crisps, doing light laundry and cleaning before having an afternoon row with DH and watching trashy TV and MNetting til late, excacerbating the insomnia"

In my appraisal chat my boss asked what my career plan was for the next few years. I said "to turn up" <blush> hopefully he thought was joking.

I can barely remember the day before, or when was in work before, let alone whatever work am meant to be doing!

Salbertina Wed 29-May-13 06:49:53

Oh Ledkr hmm , you sound exhausted not mentally ill. Dh saw you needed looking after and thank God, stepped in to do so.

Salbertina Wed 29-May-13 07:13:18

Gosh, just been catching up and am so struck by how similar and heartfelt our posts are. And feeling more militant feminist with every read, yy to poster who stated that ADs are too easy a solution (happy pill?) , a panacea to placate all these exhausted, downtrodden women who pitch up at their GPs. What we're speaking of is a societal problem methinks.

Yes to a support thread too! Agree something suitably cryptic- "The Strange Case of the Broken Glass in the Fireplace" perhaps? Or "What to expect after expecting"? Not do cryptic that last one. Any more for any more? Still imbibing superstrong coffee recovering from 530am start making school cakes while dc lounged in bed helped me and dh hid under the covers. Big sigh. All ended in huge row anyway and dc saying "we're not like a normal family". Again. hmm

Salbertina Wed 29-May-13 07:20:13

Dozer, your w/e sounds remarkably like mine dread them, sometimes !
grin At your appraisal. Am trying to finish my masters "to advance my career", currently am sapped of all ambition though. Dh gets furious with me and thinks I'm just not trying or am too negative.

feelingdizzy Wed 29-May-13 07:24:27

I remember when my 2 were small(19 mths between them) I was (still am )a lone parent.I remember thinking have I missed something where is the good bit? I love you but doing all this stuff for you is crap and boring.

I used to just walk to the dooor -never went out just needed to feel I could.

I am not a natural parent ,found all the need very stifling my kids are older now ,I have often faced them like they were a job(one I love very muh) But I will plan how to deal with them -god it souns like warfare!! It often felt like it.

Try and get some kip-I used control crying it was me or them-quite simply.You are not alone,I looked like I was managing ,I was hanging on by my fingernails

Ledkr Wed 29-May-13 07:25:32

Gosh how astute of her sal grin
My dd dies fuck all to help then looks horrified when I'm stressed. It's half term here which is tough cos again its the age gap and trying to keep them happy.
And why do people think its ok to text me in the mornings.
Twice on holiday before 7 and then this morning at 7 when for the first time ever dd is sleeping later.
Yy to the cryptic title then if anyone does discover us and come to tell us we should be gratefull etc then we can see em off like a pack of angry dogs ha ha

Minifingers Wed 29-May-13 07:29:47

I was so happy when my 3 dc's were young, but have really struggled with parenting in the past 4 years. I have a child with autism and a defiant and astonishingly strong willed adolescent dd. In truth there have been many times over the past few years I have found it hard to go on and felt that my life was hell,

If I hadn't had a wonderful DH and a loving wider family I would have gone under completely.

I no longer take AD's. (not the prescribed ones). St John's Wort helps when I'm having a bad month.

MavisG Wed 29-May-13 07:45:06

It's the nuclear family set up that shits on women. We evolved to live & raise children in tribes; now we often live far from family & friends are often a car ride or busy road away so it's harder to let children roam free & so be freer ourselves. Kids are then more difficult/demanding as they need more freedom (& more pressure to meet their own needs - I read something recently about hunter-gatherer children catching & cooking their own food - frogs & stuff. My 4yo whines if I make him get his own ice cream).

Loving reading this thread though sad for those of you who have it harder than I do. Yes yes yes to the person who said it's a different world when you've another adult with you - I think this is partly because it changes my focus, so I socialise with the adult & the kids do their own thing - more natural. That's a good day though. I also recognise that feeling of everything turning to shit/being out ofreach, including my friends, because of the whining and other people's shit. Curry eater I love the way you write about this.

meglet Wed 29-May-13 08:04:18

mavisG I think you are quite right about the nuclear family being the cause of a lot of problems. And children need space to run around, we're close to a road so for the time-being the kids are cooped up in the garden. I am lucky enough to be house hunting and the area I'm looking for will give them space to play out in which I think will take the pressure off a little.

jollyhappy Wed 29-May-13 08:05:19

Good morning brews for everyone - on the house from me.

In honour of Ledkr I'm totally up for "The Strange Case of the Broken Glass in the Fireplace" being the support thread.

I did once throw a coffee cup in exhaustion which shattered everywhere.

Mavis - and what I don't get is so often politicians go on about the nuclear family. I never got how emotionally and physically constrained that 2 children would mean. With my first baby I was alone but could go roaming as he was so portable.

Apart from DH I have no family support. Well DH's family do have occasionally come here - say once every 2 years - and do nothing to help. I am dreading my inlaws coming over - they want to come over a 6 weeks and will be absolutely no help at all. They have not spoken to me since my last visit so we are not close.

I am currently freaking out because the only way i currently get a shower is to have toddler in bath while I shower and have the baby in the bouncer seat. I won't be able to do this as Inlaws will want to hang around getting endless cups of tea.

I did have a play date the other day where the mum didn't seem to be coping her ds is exhibiting some behaviour issues - and I thought thank god someone real!!!

Love love love this thread and this support group.

After yet another night of no sleep I told my DH i am sick of our marriage and it is the lack of emotional intimacy and that I can't go on. He has suddenly jumped up and is helping this morning and says he will postpone one meeting this morning so I can get an hour break.

curryeater Wed 29-May-13 08:07:23

On phone so can't type fluently. Just MUST note:

Clutter, the Thor In Church thing is the best thing I have read in ages. Can't have been any fun at the time though.

Feelingdizzy - controlled crying "them or me" - YY. Sometimes in order to get what you need you have to take it from someone else, and they won't give it voluntarily. It is horrid to see that you are in competition with the people you love most for basic resources, but, you know, they're basic, you've got to have them, you're not getting them, where do we go from here?

Dozer "turning up" - me too! I often take solace in woody Allen saying 99% of show biz was showing up. Or something. It is at least better than not showing up, anyway.

Love you all x

EMS23 Wed 29-May-13 08:21:44

I finally worked up the nerve to post on this wonderful thread and my post seems to have disappeared!

I identify very strongly with that constant feeling of being on the edge. Panic and stress. I shush my family all the time and snipe at my DH. He's a great partner and father but we both struggle with the lack of sleep.

I didn't used to be like this. I find motherhood so hard. I thought I'd be so good at it so I feel disappointed in myself.

I'm sleep deprived (3yrs now) and I feel like a shell of the person I used to be. When I meet new people or do a job interview I feel sad and frustrated that they aren't seeing the 'real' me but I'm incapable of being her anymore.

I wonder if I'd have enjoyed it all more if I wasn't sleep deprived and that makes me feel angry with my DD's for not sleeping because then its their fault I'm a shit mum.
Obviously it's not their fault but at 4am it feels like this all must be someone else's fault.

MavisG Wed 29-May-13 08:33:24

Ems it's sleep, betcha. My second child is 3mo and sleeps 6 -6! - hours in a row some nights. My first (4yo) still often doesn't. I am functioning now, my husband's knackered from dealing with the 4yo. Sleep's so important. I won't do cc but I will do all else I can - when i need to I nap at weekends, prioritise it over everything else. Our house is a shit tip but sleep comes first, and when I can't nap I just keep reminding myself that I'm doing brilliantly considering the lack of sleep.

MorrisZapp Wed 29-May-13 08:37:01

I was born and raised a hardcore feminist, so I understand and relate to some of the stuff re feminism on this thread.

But. My DP couldn't be better with DS. He's great round the house too, though it pisses me off as his standards are higher than mine and I get nagged a lot. We have a cleaner too. DP does all the household finance and admin, and takes DS to the dentist and doctor as required. He changes nappies without being asked, does bath time every night, blah blah give the man the Victoria cross.

But I still feel shattered. I still want my life back. I still want more hours in the evening to be me. Even doing a very fair 50% of this shit is enough to push me to the edge. I read about women here who look forward to their child's third birthday, so they can send them off to nursery a few mornings a week. My DS has done four full days of nursery a week since he was six months old! I got a few sideways looks at the time but time marches on and nobody judges me now for having my toddler in nursery.

I suppose I'm saying yes, women are sold a pig in a poke when it comes to motherhood. Dp certainly doesn't have a moment of anxiety, while here I am on ADs and unlikely to be off them before my son starts his first job. But even with all things being equal on the home front... It's still fucking hard.

springymater Wed 29-May-13 08:39:51

When I had my first dc, I was truly amazed that one person was supposed to do it all. yy I had a husband (at the time), which certainly helped a bit, but I was astonied that I was supposed to - just ONE [beleaguered] human being - do it ALL. I'd just had a baby ffs! I had also had a c/s. So I'd had major abdominal surgery and I was supposed to keep this little thing alive by breastfeeding it. Then I had to look after it and change it and wipe its bum and keep my breasts from engorging and prevent nappy rash. There was more. I needed to sleep - and sleep was the last thing I got.

I thought then that, rather than having to do it ALL, I was supposed to be in a community where women/people gathered round. Village etc. (But when my different-culture MIL insisted I pierce dd's ears at the first opportunity, that she would take my precious baby and do it when I was out, I glued pfb to my side and deeply resented the intrusion.)

Then when they were growing up and I no longer had a husband (thank goodness), I especially had to do it ALL. People steered clear because I was single and might be a 'bottomless pit'. My mum helped out now and again, my sister when she deigned to. Other than that, totally alone to do it ALL myself. Whether I had slept or not, whether I had to somehow keep a job going (just to pay the bills, nothing luxurious like a career! I had to lie at work that I was ill when it was my kids who were ill. Applying for jobs, filling out applications, filling out how many sick days I'd had in the past year...). Mow the lawn, do the paperwork, deal with school, choose schools; drive drive drive endlessly taking kids to classes/school; having a relationship with my kids predominantly through the rear-view mirror. Nobody to bounce off. Wondering, wondering if I was getting it right; at the end of my capabilities, not at all sure what I was or wasn't getting right or wrong. Grateful there wasn't an unrealiable other half to rely on.

Then surrounded by other women who had to do it ALL themselves, competing. With me, with other women. Women sneering, ignoring; cliques. Snippy because I was single (no, I'm not that desperate that I'd want your husband, thanks).

Sounding sorry for myself now (and I haven't even got round to the endless[ly expensive] legal shit with said unreliable, feckless, shitty, vile, cruel, domineering, controlling father of my children. The short arms/long pockets father of my children. the rich guy who paid stupid money to lawyers to keep us poor. The endless stunts that hurt my children so I had to step in and take the flak to protect them. Human shield).

springymater Wed 29-May-13 08:44:41

And i wasn't even cheated on! Didn't have the world-bending agony of that - plus didn't have to hand my kids over to woman-who-stole-my-husband. Had our own house, not b&b. Kids had their own bedrooms.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Wed 29-May-13 08:54:48

MorrisZapp, yy to 50% of the shit still being too much. I posted upthread that the only thing holding me here sometimes is that if I can't take 50% of this crap I can't possibly justify leaving and dumping 100% of it on DH. If he behaved as though it were all my job and he was doing me a favour by helping out, I would have been gone long ago.

I also think people don't acknowledge enough how much breastfeeding a baby demands of you, and agree with the poster above who said formula is a minor feminist miracle. I breastfed because I thought I should and wound up with a bottle refused. I felt beyond trapped - I still can't think about the period between 6 and 9 months, after I'd gone back to work but before we managed to night wean DS, without feeling sick and shaky.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Wed 29-May-13 08:56:17

Sorry, that should be 'bottle refuser' - bloody tablet!

LornaGoon Wed 29-May-13 08:57:46

Yep, mental health taken a real battering here, though was probably predisposed to anxiety/ depression. I probably should have done something about it after DC1 but family/ friends didn't believe that anything was wrong - but they didn't offer any support either, just an expectation that I should suck it the fuck up.

When I was really close to breaking and finally got myself some ADs after DC2, DH declared he was disappointed with me, and that 'other people have more than one kid and cope, so you should too, you're not special'.

Despite him being brilliant since that very low point its very hard to forgive that. Plus, given that this thread currently runs to 15 pages, I suspect it's all bull shit: we are not all breezing through motherhood as the most amazing experience ever. I love my DC but when I've spent at least half the day literally cleaning up piss and shit and bins and dishes....no, its not fucking magical.

LornaGoon Wed 29-May-13 09:01:33

YY to 'it was them or me' regarding CC.

And yy to breastfeeding being demanding. Nobody tells you that BF sends your hormones absolutely batty. Which does not help if your mental health is already under pressure.

Ledkr Wed 29-May-13 09:03:06

I was cheated on and it was vile but I remember my first night alone with dd and I thought "this is ok he's not here to NOT HELP so I'm less irritated"
I thrived as a LP if I'm honest but I did have my amazing so s to help and babysit.
When I got remarried I gained a great husband but also unfortunately his family (who are emotionally void but like to be around each other a lot)
Dh was already living in my town so it wasn't me who took him.
Of course he then moved into my large family home with a spare room and they now have to come and stay.
I won't bang on about it but that is our biggest marriage woe.
They aren't my type (very formal) and I really dislike the intrusion of weekend stays or pressure to go to theirs.
Came to a head at weekend and I've told him to take more responsibility to see family without having to involve me.
So jolly my massive sympathys.
Anyone feel slightly more positive after this thread?
I got up quite determined to get through the day more effectively.
Prob won't last though grin

bigkidsdidit Wed 29-May-13 09:03:26

yy to formula. I bf to 6 months because I always do what I am told (good girl syndrome) but then thankfully stopped with enormous relief. I sleep trained too; DS going to bed at 7pm is my saviour. Expecting baby 2 in a few weeks and dreading the feeding adn sleep - DH and I have a plan just to look ahead to Christmas and survive till then.

I agree with you Morris entirely - DH does do 50%, and about 25% of the mental work, and I am still knackered.

As an aside on the bf, I believe that the recent emergence of attachment parenting is the latest way the patriachy are keeping us in our place. No-one expected women in the 50s to be attachment mothers. Now we are getting uppity and all of a sudden we are expected to devote ourselves entirely to a child for 3 years, feeding and co-sleeping etc? I am suspicious! But that is probably another thread.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Wed 29-May-13 09:07:47

Yes, bigkidsdidit: I'm also deeply suspicious of attachment parenting. There's a book by a French feminist arguing exactly your point that it's all about getting uppity women to know their place (and just coincidentally be left unable to compete at work).

MorrisZapp Wed 29-May-13 09:09:20

I hated breast feeding with a passion I can barely articulate. Seeing as this is a brutally honest thread I will share with you the appalling thought I had in hospital when DS was born. I thought I wish I was young and uneducated, so I could breezily give my baby formula milk and nobody would bat an eye.

In the end, I struggled on til three months when my lentil weaving, breast advocating mother said to me for gods sake stop killing yourself, give him a bottle, he'll be fine. It was probably the most liberating thing anybody has ever said to me in my life. I still had a breakdown mind, but at least by the time it happened my son could be given sustenance by any of the very many people in his life who love him dearly.

Fuck breast feeding. No really. Fuck it to hell and back for the woman breaking fucker that it is.

curryeater Wed 29-May-13 09:11:07

sauceforthegander "It's like I'm fucking starving and you're having a roast fucking dinner"
YY. I have sometimes thought about living with a snorer that it is like sitting down, starving, next to someone tucking into a delicious dinner, who swipes all your food to the floor as he sits down.

springymater Wed 29-May-13 09:11:16

I feel AMAZINGLY more positive after this thread [hopes my poor pity fest didn't strike others when down though]

It's good to KNOW things are shit, but to carry on anyway, KNOWING we're doing a stupendous job in the circs.

Yes, my last baby was a bottle refuser. I get really angry on bf threads when people give crappy advice which won't work about mixed feeding because being stick ebf when you don't want to is HELL.

I had that through all of 2012. We had a days Olympics tickets and I couldn't go because DS (6mo) had a fever. I couldn't even swap with DH and do half a day each because I have the boobs. It had to be me. I left him with my sister and went for the afternoon anyway in the end. I nearly fell asleep in the stadium, was exhausted and He cried the whole 6hours I was away.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Wed 29-May-13 09:12:49

Agreed, Morris. I'm not stupid enough to have any more children, but if I were I would definitely FF. I utterly hated breastfeeding and got trapped doing it for far longer than I wanted or planned because DS would not take a bottle, ever. We literally starved him for 36 hours and he still wouldn't (not proud of that episode).

bigkidsdidit Wed 29-May-13 09:14:13

Ah Dogs I expect I saw a review of that book somewhere - in my sleep deprived state it's unlikely I had that thought myself grin

don't suppose you remember her / its name? I'd like to read it.

Actually I do feel better after posting on here too!

For me, I really love family friends - they are my happy place. Friends with kids round all day, throw kids into garden sit around chatting with parents. Summer is my happy time.

MorrisZapp Wed 29-May-13 09:17:16

'Just express' they tell you. Marvellous advice. Express precious breast milk then experience the joy of tipping it down the sink when yet again, angry baby refuses bottle and gets so wound up you have to get em out again. That's ok, it's not like I have anywhere I'd like to be apart from this stinking sofa.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Wed 29-May-13 09:17:20

Her name is Elisabeth Badinter - I can't remember the title of the book, I'm afraid, but Google should provide!

bigkidsdidit Wed 29-May-13 09:21:28


I have to say DH does probably more of the grunt work when he's home atm, but I do a lot of it when he's not here, and I do 99% of the PAing, which boils my piss, but is harder to sort out when he is happy to do the other stuff.

It is still tough.

Galaxymum Wed 29-May-13 09:23:27

I felt forced into breastfeeding and had such an enormous guilt trip when I finally had to give up when DD was seven months due to health reasons. I don't remember enjoying any of those first seven months as I was so ill with the hormones. I was like a stick with enormous boobs and just feeding constantly. Exhausted and and vulnerable and nervous wreck sums it up. The health visitors (2 0f them) came when I was struggling when DD was about 10 days old and they told me it would be my fault if she got eczema if I stopped breastfeeding. It was MY responsibility for her future. Well she got eczema anyway and I was very ill with my own eczema due to hormones.

After that experience and also DD's difficult birth towards the end I decided against a second child. She was stuck and had the cord wrapped round her so every contraction cut off her oxygen. It was horrendous for that last half hour. Her apgar scores were very low and the worry was horrendous. I think I suffered PTS from the experience it was so bad. I still can't talk about it without getting upset 7 years on.

middlewallop Wed 29-May-13 09:33:09

Reading this with great interest, I agree with so many of the themes here MIL, worry about my MH, loosing the plot in front of the DC and worrying about the years this parenting lark is adding to me!

Very interesting to hear about difficult 4/5yr olds as when I expressed this to other mums on the playground I was met with looks of surprise when I commented about DD tiredness in Reception (I didn't even bother after that to express how horrid 3.30 - 7pm could be, everyone else seemed to be doing visits to the park and play dates, I could just about get her home).

Please keep this going with a support thread.

curryeater Wed 29-May-13 09:34:55

Galaxymum, that sounds utterly terrifying.

Clutter, just wanted to come back to your Thor-in-Church story - didn't mean to be insensitive but it is such an amazing image, so brilliantly put. However I also wanted to add that it sounds as if the people in your church recognise you are doing a great job, your dc is just "like that", and perfectly lovable in his own way, so please try not to worry about being asked to leave - it sounds as if they don't want you to feel bad, but the opposite.

Our priest talked about his own childhood as a terror who would climb the pews and is sympathetic to parents (and is one, but it sounds like you might be Catholic, so if yours is that will be a deep dark secret! I used to be Catholic so hope you don't mind the joke, still feel like I am allowed to joke about Catholics as you can take the p out of your own family, but maybe not).

Anyway a little more rambling about going to church: it occurred to me, when I joined our church choir in a state of musical starvation, that the church would once have performed a very important role in bringing quasi-professional music once a week to people who would never have heard it any other way, being unable to afford concerts or to get anywhere further than walking distance. How nice it must have been to sit and be sung to, when you could never even put the radio in normal life. And I decided not to question that material comforts that going to church brings: yes, breaking up the day as you say; sitting down; hearing music; in my case, sunday school, so only the little dc with me; an excuse to put on something half way smart; people to chat to afterwards; etc. There was a part of me that saw all that as superficial stuff that it was sinful to enjoy but then I thought, fuck it, the church knows what it is doing, it knows why it is here for us. take it and see what you can offer the other people there, chat to an old dear or something

Pfaffer Wed 29-May-13 09:37:57

I completely agree about the prevalence of ADs. We are papering over some bloody major cracks in feminism, I think.

MorrisZapp Wed 29-May-13 09:40:33

Yyy curryeater. I'm atheist to my core but I love a good tune as much as the next girl, and church people can be very welcoming with the juice and biscuits etc. Old dears adore seeing kids muck about in church, lets face it, they love seeing anybody under the age of seventy in church. Also with a boy you can play up the adorable scamp thing. Wrong, but really, quite right.

Salbertina Wed 29-May-13 09:41:11

I loved bfing dc2 after an easy birth during ehich i had tons of support.

I could NOT bf dc1 after horrendous, long labour then forceps birth in understaffed London hospital with v little support & v inexperienced staff. I could not sit up, dc had (obv in retrospect) v sore head and as it later turned out feeding difficulties due to his yet to be diagnosed SN.

Yet, EVERYBODY- dh, MIL, dm, mws and bloody patronizing nct bfing helpline told me to try harder, keep trying. In other words completely and utterly down to me, my fault if it didn't work, nothing at all to do with individual baby or the horrendous -unacknowledged - damage done with forceps to us both. Years on i still fume at the memory and the total fucking lack of support for us. Imagine as if the male equivalent of forceps damage. Would they be expected to function normally plus race around after and feed new baby???? Or would they be on several days even weeks enforced bed rest with someone ELSE looking after baby and mo pressure to bf due to nature of birth.

curryeater Wed 29-May-13 09:42:10

Ledkr, in answer to your question, this thread is brilliant because so many great mothers have put such strong writing on it, and that makes me feel really positive. But on the other hand I worry that expressing myself to you lovely people gives me an outlet that disinclines me to address issues irl (ie the non-communication with dp). but actually it is a brilliant way to hang on and feel less terrible while I work out how to address it.

notnow2 Wed 29-May-13 09:42:23

Thank god for this thread. I have 3 dc who are 5,4 and 19mths and I feel like I have gone crazy. The constant mummy mummy mummy and whining. I can't concentrate on anything. As soon as I start something the toddler is hanging off my clothes and the older 2 scrapping.
I work partime as a nurse and feel intolerant of the noise and people calling my name and 2 different people talking to me at a time. I used to thrive at work but now I just more headfuck.

I feel like I am shaking all the time - not necessarily physically but that high adrenaline feeling. There is always a mess to clear up, loads of cleaning or washing to do,reading to do, meals to get. I am mentally and physically exhausted.

I really thought it would be improving by now but I feel as down as I did 2 years ago.

curryeater Wed 29-May-13 09:47:54

Salbertina: yy to birth injuries and what men would be expected to do.

A friend of mine has two small children and a dh who has suffered mental illness since his teens. Most of his adult life it was under control with meds but a certain amount of stress built up around the small children, he stopped sleeping, he sought help but was fobbed off onto a waiting list, and then he had a pyschotic episode and had to be restrained by police and taken to hospital. He recovered with treatment and when he came out of hospital he was told to go and live with his parents for a while and visit his children, so that he did not relapse under the stress. I know this was right and it must have been what he needed for his recovery but I have never ever heard of a mentally ill mother (PND or anything else) being advised to let someone else manage her family, and just dip in for the good bits, till she is better.

Pfaffer Wed 29-May-13 09:47:56

I've just remembered that after 5 weeks of trying to breastfeed my baby, coincidentally I went into work to show him off, and practically the first thing I said to a startled staff room was 'Well all this breast is best stuff is obviously a male plot to keep women in their place' shock - I was so exhausted and beaten, the filter just wasn't there...

I don't necessarily think that's true, I think there are heartfelt (not scientifically rigorous) reasons for pushing breastfeeding and that women for whom it's a breeze or a victory get so caught up in it that they get it way, way out of proportion. How many men are actually interested in it?

(And, isn't attachment parenting supposed to involve all available adults? I know the mother has to do the feeding but the carrying etc is for everyone to do, no?)

It's good that PND is as recognised as it is these days, but I find it odd that there's quite so much mention of hormones etc. as the cause of it, when there's also the major fact of being responsible 24/7 for a small dependent person ! This may ease gradually over time (mine are now 14 and 11, and beginning to get slightly less high maintainance) but it's a long road isn't it. I found two much harder to handle than one as well OP - and think this too seems to be minimised by society.
That's part of the reason for my NN - "Juggling" - I've felt I've been juggling different demands on me ever since becoming a mother, but especially since we had DS when DD was 2.6 yrs.
All the best to you thanks
(DS is calling out for his weetabix now so have to go ....)

curryeater Wed 29-May-13 09:51:38

Everyone is writing so brilliantly on this thread that I just want to sit here and hit Refresh all day but I have to go now. Hope you all have an ok day x

Ledkr Wed 29-May-13 09:53:13

middle dd1 was like that after school. She'd come out with a moody face then cry and whine all the way home.
I had some sucess with taking a snack to have on the way home and trying to avoid actually going home too.
She often was in bed before 6 too.
Positivity is slowly decreasing with the endless rain hmm

We have a Playdate today and a craft kit, so i'll disappear soon. I feel like I cope with the kids better if we are busy.

zirca Wed 29-May-13 09:58:58

Is having 2+ really that bad? I've had my fair share of mh problems (recurring depression, and 10 years or so of eating disorders). Having my first child changed all that for me. It gave me a sense of perspective and the freedom to feel on an even keel no matter what, has been incredible. My child isn't always easy at all, but I feel ok inside, so dealing with crying/temper tantrums/lack of sleep etc doesn't feel too hard. We're considering ttc #2. Is this a monumentally bad idea?

Minifingers Wed 29-May-13 10:02:10

I think breast feeding works well in cultures where women aren't alone with small children all day. It's not that bottle feeding doesn't also involve you having to hold and feed a little person, but its the emotional intensity of being the ONLY person who can feed a child, and the strongly reciprocal physical relationship involved in feeding a baby with your body. It just feels like too much for many women who are already emotionally overwhelmed and suffocating with the relentlessness of new motherhood.

I wish we could just acknowledge this reality rather than have to justify giving up breast feeding on the grounds that it's 'not working properly'. Babies feeding hourly is physiologically good and normal. But for women who have spent the first 30 years of their lives being autonomous it can come as a hideous shock, and in the end be the straw that breaks the camels back.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Wed 29-May-13 10:02:57

ledkr, yes, the rain! I've never been so much at the mercy of the weather. Pre-DS, obviously I preferred the weather to be good, but if it rained at the weekend I had the option of hiding indoors with a book. Now it's a choice between going stir-crazy with DS climbing the walls and going out in the pouring rain and squelching around. I really am not an outdoor person and I hate it.

Mine are still little, but I think it is short term stress for long term gain. Mine are 18mths and 4. They argue sometimes, but they also play together. For me that's an improvement on one tiny person always needing to play with me.

Salbertina Wed 29-May-13 10:03:53

No guarantees, Zirca- depends on individual kid, your support network, whether pnd hits etc etc.

Having said that, having dc2 validated me for the first time as a mother. I knew what i was doing ! I knew when to ask for help and what was "normal". Having an easy birth, easy baby and easy feeder was v cathartic after horrendous first time.

springymater Wed 29-May-13 10:04:05

Not necessarily! You never know how it will go. If you have a (truly!) supportive partner and good rl support then that's the best thing for you.

springymater Wed 29-May-13 10:07:01

I tell you what gives me the heebie-jeebies to this day: indoor place spaces. When I drive past them I still shudder. Stuck in a warehouse-type building, no windows, for hours. Properly did my head in (properly! not just irritating or difficult but Properly Difficult)

bigkidsdidit Wed 29-May-13 10:11:09

zirca I'm about to give birth to #2. I am determined to be kind to myself this time - ff if necessary, put the baby with my (lovely, lovely) CM for a few hours every now and again, even from very young, to get some head space (she has said she'd be delighted to cuddle it for an hour or so)! I'm also going to be more open with DH about things.
I wanted 2 children so that was that, really.

Starting my kindness-to-myself: today I've got a day's annual leave and put DS with the CM and I'm watching the tennis and eating cake grin

Minifingers Wed 29-May-13 10:12:25

I think I'm one of the few people on this thread who found having tiny children consistently enjoyable and manageable. Breastfed first for 18 months, second for 13 months and third for 2 and a half years. Didn't use any formula for babies 2 and 3. They didn't sleep through for years either. It all started to go shit shaped when my youngest was 3 and I became unwell with some sort of mystery virus that made me jaundiced and nauseated for months on end. I suffered from an anxiety so crippling I was constantly wanting to chuck myself under a bus.

I miss having tiny children. It felt easy then emotionally. Now I struggle to meet their needs, am driven into insanity by their arguing and selfishness. I wish I'd bought them up to be more self disciplined and self-sufficient. I really blame myself for having created such selfish children.

Minifingers Wed 29-May-13 10:20:24

Can I pass on a LIFE SAVING tip?

Audio books on your phone.

I always have one on the go. On the surface I'm doing the walk to school for the 10'000th time. Children squabbling. Grey skies. But I've got my headphones in and in my mind I'm somewhere else completely: on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic; shagging an 18 year old medieval knight with rippling muscles; tracking a murderer through a Swedish forest.

Honestly it helps so much. That and Netflix on my iPad.

Ledkr Wed 29-May-13 10:22:11

Me too minimy otherwise gorgeous dd1 is the most selfish person I know. She will not pick up after herself for love or money.
I spend my days arguing with her now its sad.
If she makes breakfast she leaves milk and sugar with no lids and cereal out then goes into a strop if I ask her to clear up hmm

LornaGoon Wed 29-May-13 10:27:35

Interesting how many women struggle with BF versus FF, particularly the massive guilt and pressure.

Women that I know of who 'made' their partners do 50/ 50 of the bottle feeding newborns through the night, are known as nagging battle axes, dominating and self-serving, selfish cows. Everyone feels sorry for their partners.

However, I doubt anyone would cast too many sorry glances over the wife who wife stumbles out of bed for the hundredth time to get her boobs out for the milk monster in the crib, while her husband snores through the night.

LornaGoon Wed 29-May-13 10:38:50

''I think breast feeding works well in cultures where women aren't alone with small children all day...It just feels like too much for many women who are already emotionally overwhelmed and suffocating with the relentlessness of new motherhood...I wish we could just acknowledge this reality rather than have to justify giving up breast feeding..''

Minifingers, I could cry with relief that other people are articulating this too! Thank you smile

Minifingers Wed 29-May-13 10:54:42

You know what it is Ledkre? It's fecking exhaustion that makes us give up and do it for them. I bitterly bitterly regret all the millions of times I have given in from sheer tiredness and done things for my children they should have done for themselves. Reinforcing their belief that I am their SLAVE. How the chickens are flocking home to roost now my oldest is a completely idle, useless teen, who drops her crisp wrappers on the floor where she's standing rather than walk three steps to put it in the bin. angry

In my late teens I lived in Kenya. Most children there are AMAZING: resourceful, hardworking, competent, independent. They have to be.

Western mothers have created a whole generation of selfish and lazy children. I will hold up my hands and admit that I have made a massive rod for my own back through Molly-coddling my children and doing too much for them.

I've l

Just to lighten things a little it did make us laugh when one of the DCs said (when quite little) ...

"We're just your slaves aren't we ?" when asked to maybe pick something up and put it away.

If only !

Love and strength to all x

Salbertina Wed 29-May-13 11:09:43

Mini- i live in (urban) Africa and see a lot of kids bringing themselves up on the streets under the occasional eye of an army of local "sisis" . Not all rosy, yes they're independent and savvy but many are malnourished, neglected and some turn early to gang-related petty crime. Mothers tend to be away from home a lot from working long hours, many fathers totally absent. hmm

Salbertina Wed 29-May-13 11:12:15

Meant also to say that this works much better in rural Africa where extended family keep an eye out and where dangers are far fewer. Problem is everyone's leaving such areas in droves due to lack of jobs.

Aww curryeater, yep catholic & I don't agree with many things that the church stands for but honestly felt ready to dump my child somewhere & they have been so kind and welcoming to me. A few times I've thought I'm going to cry sitting there as I've found life so hard lately. One wee old man keeps giving my son a pound coin so mini clutter is delighted.
Another hilarious time, he was really playing up & running away so I took him to the smaller room/church that a couple of ladies have said they took their children to if they were playing up. Mini clutter went in just before the priest arrived. He ran up & found a bell & rang it. Everyone in church stood up!!!
The priest came up to speak to me later, I apologised for my sons behaviour. He said nonsense I don't hear a thing when I'm on the alter I just see his lovely smiling little face. I could of hugged him. He really is gorgeous looking, blonde curls, big blue eyes that look always up to mischief & chubby cheeks. Looks like a cherub (but is not)
I love going through for coffee & biscuits after. Probably reek of desperation but it gets us out of the house.
I hope we can keep this thread going it has made me feel so much better not to feel so alone.
You are all fab doing the hardest job ever x

mercury7 Wed 29-May-13 11:22:53

yes, the hardest job ever and 'How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child'

Such a relief to read that I wasnt alone in finding it such an unrewarding task

curryeater Wed 29-May-13 11:22:54

Clutter, your ds sounds utterly delicious and I bet everyone in the church is enjoying his cheeky gorgeousness.

Great tip from minifingers on the audiobooks.

anyone got any good novels to recommend? Especially really funny ones?

A thousand spendid suns is a brilliant book, not really funny but totally absorbing. Will have a think of last funny book. I normally read harrowing true life things...I'm great fun me!

Minifingers Wed 29-May-13 11:31:57

Curry - I pay £6.99 a month to Audible and download one book a month for that. I go for length rather than quality tbh. Last month I had Ken Follett's 'Pillars of the Earth' and this month the follow up book, 'World without End'. Unabridged. That's almost 90 hours of recording! Prior to this I had all three of the Steiger Larsson Millennium series 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' Etc.

I'm an ex English teacher and I know these books aren't great literature, but they are gorgeously escapist so I've really enjoyed them.

Some libraries have audiobooks that you can download from the council website too. Plus books on CD that you can hire. I recommend the unabridged ones - more listening for you money!

Also worth having a browse on radio 4 and radio 4 extra. They have good books that they serialise and plays too.

Just returning to this thread, so many posts I can relate to.

Things are looking up here, I mentioned up thread that I couldn't drive, well my lovely MIL is having a new car and has offered me her old car!

So DH will be able to teach me for a while until I can afford proper lessons.

I was looking at insurance quotes, had to put my occupation as 'housewife' and died a little bit inside. grin

curryeater Wed 29-May-13 11:39:25

Thanks, clutter. Have downloaded sample.

I think the Blessing by Nancy Mitford is very funny. Can't remember that much about it, only that it kept me going when trying to nightwean dd1.

Lucky Jim - a classic - very dark and misogynist in parts, but there are parts I will often re-read when I need a lift

David Sedaris is funny and has a funny piece online in the New Yorker at the moment


Minifingers Wed 29-May-13 12:17:25

David Sedaris is hilarious.

Makes me grin just thinking about him.

I love hearing him read his writing. His delivery is perfect - absolutely deadpan and very camp.

PoppyAmex Wed 29-May-13 13:01:07

I have a 14 month old DD and I'm pregnant with my second child and I always wanted to be a mother.

I had a career, I lived and worked in many countries, I travelled a lot but this was always the end goal...to have children.

We attained financial security, moved back to Europe, bought a house, I became a SAHM and now I struggle.

Sometimes I think the reason I'm struggling is because of my high expectations of motherhood. Sometimes I think it will get better when I get some sleep or when I GET A BREAK from our life's admin. Sometimes I just get cross for not being overjoyed for finally having all I wanted.

I got irrationally annoyed yesterday because we ran out of olive oil, kitchen towels, maldon salt and listerine all at the same time. It takes SO MUCH ENERGY just to run our lives...

DH really is one of life's good guys, but his brain is just hardwired in a different way and I can't find the words to explain how hard it all is.

Anyway,thank you for starting this thread and sharing; it simultaneously made me smile and want to cry. It would be shame for it to disappear, could it perhaps be moved somewhere else?

HandMini Wed 29-May-13 13:33:55

So much of this thread had made me scream "me too, me too". I have two small DDs (and am lucky to have some help now and again) but the sapping, draining relentlessness of it makes me slow-witted, physically slow, incapable of decision making.

And the anger, oh my god yes, the anger. Never far from the surface.

Carrying the weight of responsibility, and the minutiae of three people's lives in your head.

My career (high flying, great earning, wonderful prospects) is in the process of being dismantled as I have realised I can't do it FT as well as give DDs the attention I want to.

My body, totally scarred and wrecked from two births and a related major op. The lines and wrinkles on my face tell the sleep deprivation.

I have a lot of anxiety now, often about stuff which is supposed to fun, like holidays (will the girls scream in the car all the way, will they sleep ok in new rooms) and childrens parties (will DD have a nice time, do I hover too much).

But I don't regret the decision to have children and I love them both so wholeheartedly. I go into their rooms to watch them sleep because I need to see their little faces.

I cry a lot and do "empty mind" activities like surfing the web/watching TV once DDs are in bed. I never seem to find the motivation to do something productive like a craft or cooking.

middlewallop Wed 29-May-13 13:56:02

Thank you Ledkr I never thought about taking her out after school, I just got home and shut the door, every bloody day.

So many times I thought this is it I have PND, in reality just a busy life difficult dd1 4 and two younger ones. Far too many people expected me to have PND! My DH works abroad so in a way I don't mind just getting on with it as I have no expectations from him but goodness me I could do with another pair of hands at night.

Ledkr Wed 29-May-13 13:57:38

So moving onto sharing tips I decided to take them swimming (luckily over the rd) the stress of getting out ensued so I just got a big shopping bag and literally threw in 3 towels and 3 costumes and a nappy and left the house.
Normally I fuss around tidying up and tying up loose ends before I leave but I just needed to get out.
Had. Nice swim and got chips on way home for lunch.
I agree about expectations being high and unreasonable.
Have decided to put housework further down the list.

Ledkr Wed 29-May-13 13:59:02

middle I never went home after school if I could help it. Biscuits in pocket and a stop at the park.

middlewallop Wed 29-May-13 14:09:31

Ledkr Haha perhaps everyone else had the same problem!

I find myself looking at new mums with babies with pity(even when they look collected) I find them looking back with shock at my three. I just think you just wait until they are on the move, not very kind to womankind!

Ledkr, I took my ds swimming a couple of weeks ago & was getting stressed about wetting house tidy, dishes done etc & just thought "just get out" We had a great time, was lovely spending time with him where I just felt relaxed. Haven't been back yet tho & it was £5.80 for me which was a bit steep for an hours splash in the baby pool shock

curryeater Wed 29-May-13 14:19:08

Well done on the swimming trip, ledkr.

I am feeling pretty grim now. Getting a virus, dd1 had it last week and it knocked her out and I am feeling pretty horrible.
Don't know what to do about dp. haven't spoken for over 36 hours. realising more and more clearly that we are stuck in this thing where I have to pretend everything is ok or he just disengages completely.

here is what he will do if I challenge him (in whatever ways) on the set up:

- shout, get angry, slam doors (if drink has been taken, which is likely if I have been emboldened to do this).
-change subject
-tell me that he works very hard and I don't appreciate him, get very upset
-leave, disappear, go off somewhere
-tell me that we can't talk about that now because there is something worse that I have done and something more important about his feelings
-agree to do something when asked specifically, may or may not do it, will not result in change of overall behaviour over time
-tell me that I am addressing it in the wrong way, being nasty to him, and "why can't you treat me like I am your friend"
-long sufferingly sigh and patronisingly appear to agree to do something as if I am the most demanding piece of shit on the earth

so it's an endless negative feedback loop, because I have to pretend he is perfect to get anything at all out of him, because everything is voluntary and he can just choose to withdraw his support, which is dependent on his feeling like being nice to me, and so the real resentment builds up in proportion to how much I am having to pretend and struggle on, because if I were to tell the truth about how fucked off I am I am just femina non grata.

I just want to be happy now we are not looking at being homeless but instead I am feeling utterly exhausted and grim.

Have been reading the "moving tips" thread and everyone is basically saying "outsource whatever you can". I had been thinking "now we have moved once, and our stuff is more organised and I have sorted and got rid of loads, we can be really organised for the next move, ready for the men to lift labelled boxes into designated rooms, and I will not have to hump anything around this time." HA HA HA all the time he was thinking the opposite. And that I was upset and offended makes me very very wrong and unacceptable.

thinking about going to a hotel. Shattered and aching and just want to sleep or cry.

hopkinette Wed 29-May-13 14:32:15

This thread is amazing. Has anyone asked about getting it moved, so it doesn't disappear? I know there are plans afoot for a follow-on thread, but there is so much incredible writing on this one that I think it would be a huge loss if it were to go.

I am childless by choice and I'd just like to thank every one of you for having the courage to talk honestly about motherhood. I have known for a long time that I don't want kids, but there is this unrelenting tide of pro-childbearing sentiment that sometimes makes me doubt myself. All the stuff about fulfillment, and about "not knowing what real love is until you have children." The daily grind is rarely if ever mentioned, and when it is, it's always in wry, it's-not-so-bad tones. I have so much respect for women who raise children and my heart goes out to everyone who's having, or has had, an awful time; but it's reassuring to hear that what I've always suspected - that it's a fucking tough gig - is true.

Curryeater I was so struck by what you said about anger: anger hurts the angry person and therefore to make someone angry is to hurt them. YES. And to deny them the right to be angry is to hurt them again. I've recently started thinking a lot about female anger and how it's so massively frowned on, how we're told that anger is inappropriate and destructive and we - WE - should avoid getting angry and manage our anger. I know you were talking specifically about the micro, the dynamic in your own relationship, but I do think that what you said is relevant at the macro level too. Women are treated poorly in a general sense, but God forbid we should get angry about it. You articulated so perfectly what I've been thinking.

curryeater Wed 29-May-13 14:45:10

I would happily see this thread move to somewhere more permanent, but I am not sure if that is ok because others may have posted on the basis that it will disappear.

HandMini Wed 29-May-13 14:48:24

Yes, yes to keeping this thread. curryeater has been amazing on it and out into words so many feelings, most of all about anger, that I could not have verbalised more accurately if I'd tried for a week.

TheOldestCat Wed 29-May-13 14:51:38

This thread has lifted my spirits since posting last night. Thank you all for wise words and solidarity.

Obviously this is only my experience - but I'd be happy for it to stay, despite describing some feelings I'd not share in real life.

MacMac123 Wed 29-May-13 15:01:56

I can't keep up wtih this thread! Have been in work for a few hours and so much has been added.
But as always, it just keeps resonating.
Handmini - I could have written your post myself!

Salbertina Wed 29-May-13 15:04:11

Would also like it to stay.

MorrisZapp Wed 29-May-13 15:06:25

Yes, get the thread moved to a permanent home.

You have my permish anyway.

Chippedandstained Wed 29-May-13 15:07:19

This thread has given me the strength to call the docs to have an increase in my antidepressants. I've been in tears today already with my defiant and violent 4 year old and am so sad that all I think about is the fastest way to get to bedtime. When I just had him, I thought I had it sussed. Twins a year later have enabled me to get my head from up my arse and see motherhood for the grind it is.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Wed 29-May-13 15:09:43

I'd also be happy for it to stay.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Wed 29-May-13 15:13:35

curryeater, is going to a hotel for a night financially practical? If it is, I really think you should. Perhaps write down some of the things you've said on here for your partner to read while you're gone. It sounds as though you've got to the end of a long period of immense stress, and now you're having the crash, and he isn't acknowledgingbeither the stress or the crash.

Pfaffer Wed 29-May-13 15:13:51

People are mentioning expectations of motherhood, but you know, I had very few.
My own mother is not really fit for the job, I knew this, and I suppose I thought I'd be better than she is/was. I am. That was my only expectation.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Wed 29-May-13 15:16:45

curryeater, I also meant to say massive congratulations on sorting out your housing. You're entitled to feel very proud of that.

I agree Pfaffer, I had no expectations really, apart from tiredness.

My Mum wasn't great either, I think I just desperately wanted a family to prove that I could have a happy home of my own.

But I looked for happiness in the wrong place, instead of trying for my first baby I should have been doing so many other things. I expected motherhood to make me happy, but it didn't, I'm still the same person, just with extra stress. hmm

One of my friends always says her kids are 'her whole life' but I don't feel like that, and I don't think I ever could.

Pfaffer Wed 29-May-13 15:27:49

I know what you mean, springtime...I wanted a family because families are nice. Well, mine wasn't, but the one I made is nice, if small and imperfect. It's just that hitherto, everything nice has also been easy in some way, and this very definitely hasn't been grin

I definitely need outside interests (and I work hard on those) so I will probably be the subject of ds's long rants to his therapist at some point in the future...She went on holiday with her friends, how very dare she? etc